Wednesday, December 31, 2008

As the year comes to an end....

Despite the weather, we had a full Christmas. The only thing that was rescheduled was my Aunt's Prime Rib dinner which will be in February and anyone would drive from anywhere for her prime rib! We did have a lot to cram in between weather, my chemo and nap times, but I we did it. The only thing we missed was Grant video taping me skating with the kids. He was like, "Oh, you wanted me to do that?" I am like, "Which one of us is terminal????" and roll my eyes. I am comforted that we can talk that way to each other and not have hard feelings. For those of you asking, yes, I was yelled at for ice skating by everyone BUT my oncologist and, of course, my cohorts Grant, Karissa, Morgan and their kids. My oncologist praised me for having the guts to do it (apparently he can't - at all) and dealing with the side effects. He seems to understand my need to balance my family memories with my trials. I played in the snow, I went ice skating, and I stayed out too many nights too late. Isn't that what Christmas is? So, this round my white cell count has started to decline. The silver lining to that is my oxy is reduced in my cocktail and my side effects are shortened. My oxy makes the chemo work better but gives me more temperature sensitivity and lengthen my fatigue. So, I will most likely have a great weekend. Today, I didn't do much. I am trying to recuperate from last weekend. We did Christmas until literally Monday night the 29th. It was a little nuts, but so am I, so it fits. As for New Year's, I am ignoring it just like I did our anniversary and I will do it later! Also, for those who have been asking I did finally found out about the colondar. I was not selected. There were 500 applications, so my odds weren't good. I think a big part is that I am still in treatment and they are 50 miles away from any medical facility. In addition they usually have a theme for each calendar, so if my story didn't match the theme that would make sense too. So, am I upset? Not really. My promise to Bob was fulfilled and I really did do my best on the application, so I can't be too upset. I trust that they picked the people that they needed. They have done a beautiful job in the past, so you have to believe that they will do it again. The worst part is that I can't put calendar pin up girl on my resume!!!!! Happy New Year for those of you that are celebrating it - remember I am ignoring it..... Love, Ang

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Things are moving along....

This round went better than the rest. Yes, I still puked, but only once. Yes, I still have my issues, but they seemed better. I "appear" to be getting the recipe for the new cocktail down. In fact, outside of the temperature sensitivity, I am doing well. That one was the tough one this time. I didn't make it to the game on Saturday. The air was so cold and I couldn't risk getting stuck in it. I watched in on TV at home. The ticket went to our neighbor's son who, very nicely, listened to my Dad talk about his glory days playing basketball in Spokane the entire time. What a sweetheart. Closer to home, I found that playing the snow and not breathing is also a challenge. Luckily, because I lived in Spokane for college and learned to ski there, I had a face mask which came in REALLY handy. We played like a normal family and Nolan even kinda liked it. I took lots of pictures, we threw snowballs against the shed, they played on their swing set - slides are a lot of fun in the snow - and we seemed normal. Well, that was until yesterday, when Grant took the train to work for the first time (his office moved this past weekend to Pioneer Square area) and the boys and I were on our own. I usually have Mom or Karissa with me, but because of the holidays and, obviously, the weather, they stayed put. Mason, Nolan and I got on all our snow gear and headed outside. No one wanted to sled, so we went for an adventure Diego style. I have never seen Diego in the snow since he is from the jungle, but I guess that is a minor detail we can overlook. Everything was going great until, "Up Mommy." whine whine whine. "Mommy, the 'now is too deep for me. I am too 'ittle. 'elp me." and "I want to go in - I got 'now in my face." Whine, moan, moan, whine, moan, moan whine. Nolan was no better. That is when I lost it. We were undressing on the porch and they just kept at it despite my best attempts to change their perspective. I just thought, "I am raising a couple of whiners. How did that happen????" And then, my less desirable self came out, and I just said, "Here is the deal. If you two are going to me moaning and whining that is fine, but I am going to do what I want to do and you can moan and whine to yourselves." Then, the best part, "You know, people who moan and whine don't have any friends and die really lonely." Yeah, I guess the last part was pretty over the top, but my cancer came out and I thought, "Dudes, I am four days out from my 24th round of full chemotherapy and you want to moan?????" That is when I started the hard line of our golden rule, "If you are up you are happy." I LOVE THAT RULE. I don't know how I lost it, but I found it again, and I am much happier today. Couple funny stories.....I drove to Safeway yesterday after Grant got home. We needed a couple things and I really needed to get out. The Explorer did well, but there was one area where it was melting, but not draining. NICE. So, I am dancing around compact ice in a 5000 pound vehicle. It was a bit like a Disneyland ride without all the safety stuff. I got there and back fine, but while I was in the store and, all of the sudden had to go......yeah, GO. So, I went back to the grossest bathrooms in the world. The women's single bathroom was busy, so without hesitation I went into the men's. I exhaled and said to myself, "The faster you do this, the faster it is over." So, with all my potions and lotions, I was able to get through it AND discover why these bathrooms always looked dirty. It was the tile pattern. What lunatic chose that tile??? Happy with my tile discovery and happy with the fact that I was able to poop in a public restroom and still stand up, I left finished my shopping and went home. Here is the funny doctors are really impressed with my bowel control - I know, I am thinking, if this is good, what the heck is bad????? Second thing, this morning, Mason had to go poop. I don't know why four year olds need to completely disrobe from the waist down to do this, but he did and then he was in a frenzy to said good bye to Daddy, so I was helping him get his clothes back on. Somehow, he pulled up his underwear yet his "package" was totally hanging out. I said, "Mason, put yourself in your underwear." He looked down and exclaimed, "Oh my gosh Mommy, that is dangerous!" I laughed under my breath and said, "You're telling me..." Happy Tuesday, Ang

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I cried at chemo yesterday

I think it was all the emotion of having to continue or maybe it is the holidays. I am not sure, but the nurse was great and Elaine was steadfast. It is good to have that in a chemo buddy. After I cried, I felt better. Then Susie arrived and gave me a Christmas gift of Hanky Panky Christmas Underwear. If you don't laugh at that, you are a boring, boring person. So, my mood changed, I slept, and in general got it all turned around. So far I am doing well, it should hit me sometime around bedtime and the I am going to do everything in my power to rest until Saturaday so that I can go to the Battle in Seattle!!!! Gonzaga vs. UW - GO ZAGS! Happy Wednesday - stay warm - Ang

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursdays with Nolan

On my good Thursdays, I have Nolan by myself. Mason is in Preschool and then Grandpa picks him up for lunch and swimming. It is nice just to have Nolan sometimes. Today, he was particularly wonderful. I was feeling good and had a few errands to run. So, I got Nolan dressed after he chose which shirt to wear. Quite opinionated for a one year old. We hopped in the truck and off we went. One of the places we went was Target because my parents were having no luck finding plastic snow. I had Nolan and the stroller, but he wanted to "alk" (walk). So, we, in what I used to call "painfully slow pace" which now is quite fine "alked". He was almost run over a couple of times, but he managed to survive the experience. We finally made it back to the Christmas section and found the snow. After I called my parents to asked how much they needed, I looked at Nolan. He wasn't touching anything. He was perfectly still and shockingly quiet. He was just in awe of everything around him. He was looking at the moving deer and the Santa Claus countdown sign. (Background - Grant and I don't take the kids out to stores during December. It is just too much for the kids. Or, maybe it is too much for us. We are content to go to McClendons and look at the Christmas Villages, buy some taffy, and come home. It is the cheap Christmas outing where they sell NO TOYS.) I counted out the bags my parents wanted and had snow flying everywhere. Apparently, every bag had a hole. Nolan was still looking around and found the Christmas villages - just like McClendon's. He was so cute. He wasn't grabbing at them, or screaming "MINE", or anything, just looking in awe. Then, I stopped. With snow all over me and the stroller, I just stopped and remembered why I go to chemo. It is for that face, that amazement, that awe, that unquestioned belief in magic. That face. Suddenly, the news I got from my oncologist earlier this week didn't seem so bad. Heck, chemo isn't even on Christmas week, so it should shape up to be a good one. Maybe even the best I have ever had because of that sweet, little, perfect, amazing, lovable, relentless face. I am here. It is Christmas. I made it. Love, Ang

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Well, it is not the news I wanted

but it is going in the right direction. I got a call from a very stuffed up oncologist last night. He was happy about the results and wanted to schedule at least two more months of chemo. "We can go over the details next week before chemo. It is still there, but it is getting smaller, so great news." I think he called me because it sounds like everyone is sick (including me) and wants me to stay home and not risk going in for what now could be called a frivolous appointment. Again, he is happy with the results, so the news is good. So for now, I am scheduling chemo through January. Naturally, by the way the schedule goes, I will have Christmas week off. How do I feel? I feel confused that I really thought I may be done and I wonder how I screwed that up in my head. I am happy that it is good news, but I am sad that I will miss Mason's Christmas concert at school, I will not be the one to help the boys give out Christmas gifts to their teachers, I will not be able to do all the Christmas things I had planned with them, etc. etc. etc. So, I am aware that I should be happy, but I am frustrated that MY Christmas miracle isn't going to happen at Christmas and I am trying to mentally prepare myself for doing chemo at least four more times. What is the song, "When you are going through hell, just keep movin, somethin somethin somethin, the devil may not even know you at there...." So, Elaine, I need to know when you are home from Mexico (you dog!) to drive me. Sarah, we should start the help calendar up again in January. If you can and want to be on the list contact her at Mom, Dad, Donna, and Karissa, unlucky for you, you still employed at your currently rate of pay with no 2009 increase, but then zero of zero is still, unfortunately zero, despite what Wall Street may try and tell you. Ang

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

To ease your mind...

Since I have received so many emails and comments, I thought I should all let you know.....I don't use the computer by the bathtub anymore. Just so you know, I have cancer so electrocution (sp) is really not looking as bad as it once did. I used examples in my apparent "tongue lashing" post. No contractor screwed me. My friends didn't leave me high and dry - these were EXAMPLES OF LIFE, not specific to me. I stay in bed at 3am or watch TV since nobody likes me posts at 3am. I do rest. Nolan is back to normal, happy, no rash, and helped me make Turkey Pot Pie this morning. Yes, the freezer is still full. I will get the help calendar back up when it is not. And, no, I do not smell egg nog anymore. CT scan results tomorrow at 1:40 which actually mean around 2:45. Since I am "healthy", I can easily get pushed for the fast tracked patients (which I totally appreciate since I was one of those at one time). Happy Tuesday, Ang

Monday, December 8, 2008

CT Scan today

I should be prepped and in the machine at 2:00pm. This will determine how much longer I have to go. Mason's birthday and Nolan's ear infection must have really taken my mind off of it. I woke up at 3am, am too nervous to eat, and am a bit of a wreck. Say a little prayer. Ang

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Mason's Birthday

Mason's Birthday was on Tuesday. There was a little celebration at his school, but we played it down for the most part. His party was scheduled for today, Sunday, so we focused on that. Luckily, he is four and had no idea. The beauty of being four. I worked really hard this week at being well for the party. I was teasing the piranha a bit with the party being the first Sunday after chemo, but I thought I could do it. Well, we did it, but here is a picture into our world. Mason and Nolan came home Friday night after daycare. Nolan had been under the weather at my parents earlier but, we believed that he was on the mend. When I saw him I thought, "Something is not right." Friday night was normal. I was taxed, but we were able to get dinner on the table, take bathes, and get the kids to bed. At midnight, I woke up coughing. I have been fighting a cold for a while now and, with chemo, it is slow to go away. From 12 to 2 I was up with the cough, and just as I thought I was going to be able to go to sleep, Nolan woke up and I mean WOKE UP. There was no going back, so I took him downstairs for a little while and thought he would tire and would return to sleep. Well, after two hours, I put him to bed. He cried, but went to sleep. I finally went back to bed. In the middle of the ordeal, Grant offered help, but I told him to sleep. I needed him for Saturday so that we could pull off the party. Wow, did I call that one.....but I am jumping ahead. Saturday morning Nolan was a pistol. I thought it may be that he got off schedule and thought if Grant took him to Fred Meyer that would entertain him and keep him up to get him back on schedule. Why was Grant going to Fred Meyer? Well, my recipe didn't work the same this time, so I had an episode Saturday morning which caused me to need to take Milk of Magnesia which in turn caused me to go from the bathroom, to the bathtub, to the bed. At one point, I got so tired, I just stopped dressing and rotated naked between the three. Yeah, for some, that may be sexy, except this wasn't. In fact, it included barfing egg nog latte through my nose because I was trying not to barf because I was already on the toilet. Let's just say there was a lot of laundry that day. Too much information??? Yeah, well, if you can't handle that, don't read my earlier posts! Anyhoo, as I was working through my episode constantly smelling egg nog latte, I had Grant go to Fred Meyer, pick up the cake at the bakery, and take Mason to a friend's birthday party. It was busy, but then......while Grant was at the party with Mason, Nolan woke up from his nap and that is when I called the doc. We could get him in at 2:20. It was 1:45. No time to lose. I called Grant and had him pass the phone to Sarah (birthday party mom and the help calendar gal). I asked if she could bring Mason home, she said yes, passed the phone back, I told Grant to leave, come back, get Nolan and get to the doctor's office ASAP. Something was wrong with Nolan and they closed at 3:00. At this point, Grant stopped asking questions, stopped being my husband, and just followed orders. I am naked, barking on the phone, and smelling egg nog - still. I mean really how do you get that out of your nose?!?!?! Grant got home, took Nolan, I told him to call me when he got to Valley and I would talk him to the office. He did, and, despite one floor miscalculation, we got him there by 2:30. Luckily, it was just an ear infection. I am back in the bath tub starting to feel like I am coming out of it and I can only smell nutmeg. Mason, not only got to stay at the party, he was taken to Sarah's house after to the party to play with the group and did not return until 5pm which gave Grant and I time to get the Rx and take care of out little one. THANK YOU SARAH! Kidnapping has never been so appreciated. So, by 5pm, I am at least clothed but I am sure I looked like I have been through WWII. We feed the boys. Nolan is not happy, and looking at us like, "Finally figured it out, eh???" We put them to bed early. Grant and I, by the end of the day, had shared some not so great words, good words, truthful words, and finally resigning words of triumph for just getting through the day. We spent 40 mins prepping for the party, watched a program and I headed up for bed. Grant had gotten me some cough syrup which I happily took and crawled in bed. I couldn't quite go to sleep until I heard him come upstairs and enter our bedroom. The man that wanted to strangle earlier was the final component for my rest. In fact, I don't even remember him shutting the door. We all slept and, even though we had to cover Nolan up a couple times, he slept through the night. So, how was Mason's birthday???? PERFECT. It went without a hitch. The My Gym in Covington was AWESOME!!! THANK YOU AMANDA, JULIE AND EMILY! The food turned out good, the cake was almost gone and everyone, I think, had a great time. I even danced a little with one of my best buds Ben (he is four in a couple weeks). Grant doesn't dance so I am a bit desperate. Here is a funny bit.....Mason is hilarious!!! At the end of the party, Julie (leader of the party) had Mason get up and say, "There is some good news and bad news." So, he does. Then, she says in his ear, "The bad news is the party is over.", but Mason says to the group, "The bad news is my Grandpa hit me in the knee!" and cowers like a wounded animal. (If you have ever seen him do that wounded animal thing - I seriously don't know where he go it cause me and mine don't do that - EVER.) Anyway, my Dad, who is almost deaf, counters from across the room with, "That was three days ago and it wasn't that bad." (Don't we look great to CPS workers?!?!?!) Luckily, everyone took it well, fell out laughing, and we moved to the good news which was party bags for everyone!!! We were all exhausted after it was over and everyone rested. I didn't sleep this afternoon. Nolan now has a rash on his tummy and back with the docs think is from fighting the virus. So, I am resting in our room with Nolan in the pack and play next to the bed. I just want to hear him breathe. Make sure he is okay until the antibiotics kick in. He was a trouper today for his brother's birthday and just want him to be okay. So, the weekend ended well just as it should. Thank you to everyone that helped make it so....Happy Birthday my boy - I love you - Mom

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I was so busy living my life

that I forgot to post! I had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend. I almost felt normal. This week has been okay. In fact, better than last time. I seem to be getting the recipe down. The hitch for me this week was Mason Birthday was on Tuesday - the same day I said goodbye to him for chemo. I had trouble with that. He didn't. In fact, he was more concerned where the "elf on a shelf" was than me going to chemo. Elf on a shelf is an elf that watches over the house and reports back to Santa on how the children are doing....yeah, he has his priorities right. Santa, then Mommy. Okay, I am tired....back to the couch.... Happy Thursday, Ang

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Two posts in one - Why is it? and Orange Water

So, when I am in a group setting and we are going around the circle saying what we are thankful for, at some point, each person glances my way and says, "I really don't have any problems. I am really lucky." I understand what they are feeling, but here is the thing that I want to clarify to all those that read this blog. I am not a saint, I am not a warrior, I am far from perfect....I could go on and on. Oddly enough, I consider myself lucky and, in light of the holiday, I will say "thankful". As Bob once told me, "You are a half full sort of girl." (Glass half full) Now, before cancer, I would have NEVER seen myself that way, but after spending some time in the Cancer Center, I have to admit, I am closer to "Little Miss Sunshine" then I once believed. I guess having traveled as much as I did as a child, I saw so many things that were "not fair", "not right", and "unlucky". I, because of my parents, never had to deal with that. They protected me from it, but we all grow up and they couldn't protect me from every aspect of life. I have seen bad stuff, had bad stuff happen to me, had bad stuff happen to ones that I love, but all in all, I am still luckier (and thankful to be) than many many people. Now, here is the part that y'all need to read......problems and feeling around those problems are NOT a competition. Yes, my cancer gives me perspective, but it doesn't mean that you can't feel frustrated because your kid is giving you grief, or that you are really mad that your contractor messed up your project, or your long time friend hurt you beyond comprehension. All that is real and you should feel it without saying, "I shouldn't feel this way. Angie has cancer." For those of you took logic in college, reread the book. Let my cancer give you perspective, but don't let it over shadow everything. If you do, the cancer wins and I have no tolerance for that. Cancer may take my body, but it will never take my soul. It can't do that. The system doesn't work that way. Don't let my cancer control your life. Perspective yes, control no. So, being that is it thanksgiving, I have a lot to be thankful for. I am here. I am feeling good right now. I have great doctors. I have an amazing network of friends and family. I love Washington Water Heaters (see below). I am thankful that Jane and Tyrus are coming for Thanksgiving. I am thankful my Mom agreed to a buffet AND paper plates in the same year. I am thankful for milk delivery. I am thankful for Internet shopping. So, if you look that the list, it is probably the same as your (minus the doctors hopefully). I am really no different than you. I am just a Mom with two little kids that is trying to do the best she can. If you look at all the help I get, our situations are not that different, but they are not comparable, so don't compare them. Okay, done with the lecture.....onto Orange, Monday night I get into the bath not really paying attention to much and realize that I am sitting in orange water. Now, I first think, I am bleeding and my blood is now orange. Yeah, that was crazy, so I drained the tub and refilled it to a light orange color. I called Grant up and said, "Is this orange?" He said, "Yeah." So, after calling my Dad, and reading the Internet, we determined that we needed a new water heater. The timing was right. It was old and my family actually has had this happen on Thanksgiving before, so I didn't mess around. Mentally, I can't sit in iron water no matter what Grant said. All I could think about was my life as a comic strip with my surgeon saying in the bubble above his head, "There seems to be a fair amount of iron build up on your anus...." OMG!!!!! We called two companies Tuesday morning and got quotes. I discussed all the particulars with the guy I liked on the phone and we even talked about recirculation systems. They were good about timing saying we could do it anytime and when did we want to schedule it implying that if we did it all (with the recirculation system)it would have to be next week. Now, remember I am not completely healed yet, I have chemo next week, it is Thanksgiving week, and Jane is coming on Wednesday. So, I said, "We can wait on the recirculation system, I need a water heater as soon as I get back from Preschool with my boys at 12:00. Here is why......(big breath)....I take three baths a day not because I am neurotic but because, now don't feel sorry for me this is just my reality, I have rectal cancer and had to have surgery, y'know, down there and I have to take 3 sitz baths a day, chemo is next week, so I really need this done - as soon as you can." Without missing a beat, he said, "How about 12:30?" With a half smile thinking, "Wow, that was probably a little over the top...." Done. They came out and, as I was talking to the guy, I realized, "Oh yeah, I am a freak show." They waived the fee on the earthquake straps (I was supposed to fill out some website survey for that), and he mentioned that I could bathe without concern. He was really nice and he didn't mention my cancer at all. So, by 2:00pm we are all set. Where, but in America, can you call at 8:30 and have a water heater installed by 2:00pm. GO AMERICA! Happy Thanksgiving! Love, Ang

Friday, November 21, 2008

The best round thus far...

Well, so far, this is the best round I have had this treatment session. Apparently, the change in my nausea meds and the plan that I made with my colon/rectal surgeon for continuous flow (smile) have worked. Too bad it took five treatments to figure it out, but, hey, who is counting? I did have some good/bad news this week. My oncologist told me that because I am doing so well, he believes "we" may continue treatment just to be sure that "we" get it all. Pause. Pause again. Pause yet again. It will all depend on if my blood work stays good and my CT scan the week of December 7th. So, now that you have read that twice, you are probably as confused as I was.....because I am doing so well, I get to do more. No typos. More. If you look at it from the long term, I get it. If you look at it from the fact that I was supposed to be done now, but now has moved to December 4th because of my butt surgery and, now "now" has moved again because I am doing well, you can see my anger when he told me. I held it together and I understood what he was saying. All I could get out was, "I just want Christmas." I couldn't see him because the tears were full in my eyes, but he clearly said, "You will have Christmas." I don't remember much more of the conversation, but I know I said something like, "Well, you're a real downer today" and "I don't know if I want to talk to you anymore." Both things are probably not very good to tell your healer. So, the good news is I am doing great which is also the bad news but such is cancer. Today I am puttering around slowly and now I must go and shower for my boys. I can't wait to see them. Mason is getting excited about his birthday and Nolan, well, Nolan is just excited. I love them so much and for them I will do whatever my oncologist says just as long as I have Christmas. Have a great weekend - mine is looking, Ang

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Application sent...

Well, after a lot of hours, tons of edits (thank you Nanette, Laurie, Grant and Karissa!), the application was sent last night at 6:07 from the FedEx office by my house. I was going to wait and have Grant send it from his office, but I needed to do it. I needed to hand the application to the lady at FedEx, say a little prayer, and see it go. She probably thought I was a nut job, but I get that a lot these days and, quite frankly, don't really care anymore. On the way to FedEx, as throughout writing this application, I started to cry. I guess I am scared that now, my once semi-private battle with cancer, is now going to be judged and graded. Maybe my fight will not be strong enough and I won't get in and, therefore, I will let Bob down. Don't get me wrong, I know Bob is just happy that I applied. It is just the feeling of it. I also think about actually being chosen and the fact that I could become popular because of rectal cancer. Personally, I think I was pretty fabulous before my cancer, so being popular because of my cancer kind irks (sp) me a bit. Oh well, we will see. I hope that I do get it - for Bob and for me. Off to chemo, Ang

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Well, this is a pickle.

Okay, I am doing better HOWEVER I am in a bit of a pickle. For those of you that have been following my blog, Bob was/is a big influence over my cancer treatment and life. Well, last December, Bob wanted to put the "fun" back in cancer and applied to be in the Colonder. It is a caleandar of Colon/Rectal Cancer Survivors under 50. He really really wanted me to apply with him. Well, I was in radiation at the time and I gotta say "fun" wasn't what I was experiencing. I told him that he should do it and I would apply for 2010. He said, "You promise? Because you are just what they are looking for." I replied, "Yes." I reinterated that promise some months after before Bob left us in July which for all of you that follow this blog knew what a blow for me that was. Well, I finally requested the application and to my horror the deadline is next week. For the last two days I have been frantically putting together the application and "long bio". I have alined two of my friends - both amazing writers - to edit my work. So, here is what I am asking from you. Please post anything that you believe should not be left out of my bio. Was there something that hit you and that you cannot forget that you believe would be good for the review team to know? Please post this by 3:00pm PST tomorrow, Friday the 14th. Thank you. For those of you that are saying to yourself, "Ang, he would give you a break. Don't worry about this." I know, but you also know that I do not promise anything lightly. My father taught me that a promise is a promise. All you are is as good as your word. I will keep my promise and this application will be in the mail by Monday. Thank you - Ang

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Strickly an update...

Some of you are starting to notice, email, and call, so here is an update. I am doing fine, not well, fine. Chemo last week sucked. I didn't get a good day in, I puked more than usual, and I the healing from my surgery slowed way down. On a good note, Grant went home to Toronto to see his Mom and family with Mason. Mason had a ball. I was here with Nolan and my Aunt Donna stayed with me again to help with just him. It was nice. We got in some good visiting since there was only one and she helped me do a couple cleaning projects I have needed to do for a while. While I am physically fine, I am weak, I feel like I want to puke all the time and I have to still sit in the bath tub three to four times a day to be sure that the surgery area stays cleans until I am completely healed. That being said, I will probably not heal completely until after chemo is over in December. Good thing I like my bathtub! In fact, I am writing from it right now. So, all of my energy goes into taking care of myself and my kids. I am helped every day of the week by my Mom and Karissa, so no worries there. As for my mental attitude, it is low, but I know it will pass. I am just allowing myself to feel it. I am not defeated. In this course of treatments, I have not had a good week I could depend on only good days. That frustrates me, but it will be over soon enough. If I can just get through the next two treatments without puking at the cancer center, in my girlfriend's cars, and in front of my children, I will consider it a success. I am okay - please allow me to feel this - it will pass. Love, me

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A shockingly normal weekend....

Friday - I ran errands. The weather was awful, but the pops of bright yellow made it beautiful. I had to do my hair three times because of the dampness and all I could think of was the "Friends" episode where Monica was in the Bahama's and saying, "IT'S THE HUMIDITY!" Friday night, my parents came over for dinner and Grant sent me around the neighborhood with the kids. It was so fun. All the great costumes and kids wandering around the neighborhood. I saw a police man, voting box, chair, a lot of princesses, ninjas, and batman! There were lots more, but I can't remember them all - I am on chemo! Nolan didn't quite know what was going on until the second house.....knock, say something that I don't understand, get candy, have mom insist on me saying thank you, leave, go to next house......get candy....get candy. Yeah, he was out of control. Mason knew the drill and was going hard until the scary house. Then, he started to lose it. We were able to keep going until the next scary house and then, "I WANT TO GO HOME NNNNNOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!" I don't scare easily so I started asking if he was sure and he replied with, "YYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSS!" My Mom was arguing in his defense. So, I gave in. It was late and they had PLENTY of candy. I was a little concerned that we didn't get around the entire neighborhood. Call me competitive!!! So we headed home, Mason was holding my Mom's hand and saying, "We are going home. They are trick or treating, but I am going home!" We got home and Nolan didn't need any help opening up and eating candy. By the time I got to him, he was double fisting it and had something else open on the table. He is shockingly quick at times, but only to things that please him. Mason was happy opening up the door and giving tons of our candy away. We do that. We are the cool house. I always wanted to be the cool house - not the scary, but the cool house. My parents stole some candy - they asked first - and they went home. We answered the door for a bit longer, blew out the candles in the jack o lanterns, turned off the porch light, threw the boys in bed, and collapsed. Saturday morning was challenging because our children were a mess and I was off to scrapbooking at 1:00. The boys napped well and got a final chance to dress up one more time for a neighbor that was out of town on the 31st. So, they happily dressed up and went to one very unscary house!!! I had so much fun at scrapbooking. My cousin and I were on fire. We were laughing so hard we were crying. She cracks me up. A lot of my friends were there, and I was my normal self. Really, the most normal since treatment began. I saw an old coworker and everything. It was amazingly fun and I got a lot done. I only thing different for me was I was the first to leave - I just can't go for 11 hours anymore. Sunday morning started very early because the kids were screwed up with the fall back thing. But today, we are just hangin' out.....having fun....napping.....being normal. How beautiful that is. Tuesday I am back in chemo. I am sure I will do it this time. I am back. I got Halloween and scrapbooking - couldn't ask for more. Happy Sunday, Ang

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So, I may just be learning....

Today I had my follow up appointment with my surgeon. With a quick peak, and I mean quick, he said, "Wow, this is looking a lot better!" He started to laugh and said something like, "My legacy is that people think of me when they poop without pain." He is funny, but I think you would have to be to be him. I adore him - even more now. Anyway, I was out of there in 15 mins and down to my oncologist's office. While I was waiting for him, I was searching the web for boots. He walked in and said, "WHAT IS THIS?!?!?! And then picked out the MOST ridiculous ones for me....." We talked about what my surgeon had said and about how he said if I wanted to start chemo today I could. Then, I paused and took a breath. I asked him if we had lost any traction because I missed a round and if it would hurt if I waited until next week. Then, I mumbled, "I am just not ready." He looked kindly at me and said, "No, we haven't lost traction, and I think we did learn something this time. (I cannot remember this exactly, but he continued with something like...) Being the tough girl isn't so good." And then, in his really nice way, he went on to say to me that I shouldn't wait so long to say something. "You are a good patient. I know you don't like to bother people, but we are here to be bothered. Even good patients aren't good if they compromise their treatment." Those weren't the exact words, but they are close. It was basically a tongue lashing from him. I explained to him that I really must have a warped sense of pain and I will try and do better, but TO ME I thought if was just part of the drill. Clearly, I missed the mark, just like I did when I finally went in for hemorrhoids and found out I was pounding at death's door like, "LET ME IN!" Apparently, death didn't even want me. chuckle chuckle. So, I am home feeling pretty good. I still have some pain in the morning when I, you know, but it is short and getting shorter. I asked the surgeon about that and he said, you had a pretty bad infection so you will have some more healing to do then normal. It should go away in 2 to 3 weeks and a bit longer with chemo. He also said, "You know, you didn't even bleed like a chemo patient on Evastin." and shook his head. I know, I know, I don't act like a cancer patient even at the most basic level. So, here is the good news. I have Halloween, Scrapbooking, Thanksgiving with Jane, and my play with my Mom and Aunt. The bad news is that I won't be done before Thanksgiving, and my last round of chemo is on Mason's birthday. Luckily, he doesn't know how to read the calendar! Enjoy the great fall colors - they are particularly beautiful this year. Love, Ang

Friday, October 24, 2008


When Mason and I were getting ready for him to go to Grandma and Grandpa's this round, he brought a six pack of Ensure from the garage and said, "Here you go Mommy. Before you get sick." We packed his things, got him changed into his pjs, and brushed his teeth so he and his brother would be all ready to go. They were leaving on Monday night since my mornings were so bad. Remember, we all thought I was doing chemo the next day. Then, he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, your Tinkerbell tattoo to keep you safe." This has become a little tradition of ours. I may have mentioned it before (forgive me if I have), but "Tinkerbell" left some tattoos on my car before I started this series of treatments. Mason and I found them and decided that he and I would put one on me each time I went into treatment. He remembered this time and off we went upstairs to put them on before Grandma and Grandpa showed up. I asked Mason if he wanted one too this time. He smiled and said, "Yes sirree!" (SP!) Happily, he chose which one he wanted and we put it on. Of course, Nolan wanted one too and, then, as soon as it went on, he wanted it off. Oh well. So, here is the cute part. As you know, things got a bit messed up this week. I am still a little lost on what day it is, what I am doing, trying to know whether to change my entire schedule or wait until I see what the doctors say at my followup on Tuesday, balancing my guilt of bothering people by changing my schedule, etc. etc. etc. You know, my normal. And, then, Grant is talking to my parents on the phone and starts to laugh. Here is the story...Mason goes swimming with my Dad twice every time he stays with them. My Father has become his swim coach. Apparently, the Tuesday session didn't go very well until my Father figured out that Mason was only swimming with one arm trying to keep the tattoo out of the water. Isn't he the sweetest?? So, tonight, Grant and I picked them up from daycare. We stayed late and participated in the Harvest Party. It was a lot of fun. The kids were all dressed up. There were tons of games, face painting, toys, crafts, etc. As I was changing Mason into his costume, I noticed his tattoo - as perfect as the day I put it on him. Two swim lessons and three baths later! I just looked at it and the voices in my head started to bounce around, "Don't worry - you can reschedule Mason's party - we will be there.", "I will reserve Tuesday - no worries.", "Angie, we will just do whatever we have to do.", "Do you need me....", "It will all work out.....we will bring it to you.....I can handle that for you......" I got a little dizzy and had to catch my breath. I guess the hard part is that if I do heal enough to do chemo next week, I lose Halloween, Thanksgiving, National Scrapbook Day, a play with my Mom and Aunt, and all of my careful scheduling and planning of, not only my time, but my parent's, Elaine's, Karissa's, etc. goes up in smoke. These are all things I wanted so badly and had planned around. So, there is part of me that prays that I can't do chemo next week and that we add a treatment on to the end of the schedule. Mason will never know his birthday was postponed, I will get everything I want out of this season, and I will bother the people I depend on a little as possible. But, if the recommendation is that I do go in for chemo next Tuesday, I will fall back on my amazing safety net and what I learned with infertility. You always hope for what you want them to say, but reserve a little bit of your heart for what they have to say. I got through that, and I will get through this - even if it is all blows up in smoke. After all, I got my Tinkerbell. Love, Ang P.S. Clearly, I am not good at "sayings". If you have followed my blog, I think that is CLEAR. Also, my butt is doing very well!!!! :)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No chemo today

Out of 19 rounds, I have always been ready for chemo. However, my episodes have been getting worse and this morning I wanted to rip my head off, but I was determined to go to chemo. So, I went. After seeing my oncologist, he said, you are going upstairs to see your colon/rectal doctor. After seeing him, I found out that the pain is not in my head, I am not a wimp, and I would have been foolish not to say anything because, and get this, yep, this "condition" only gets better and more romantic every day.........ready??? sure?????????........I HAVE AN INFECTED FISSURE. Yep, I have an infection in my butt and I am going into surgery today. If I would have had chemo, the infection would have spread like wildfire, I couldn't have had surgery because Avastin makes you bleed like a "stuffed pig" (I have never used that expression, but I understand it after today), and I would be worse off than I am now. Surgery at 5:00 today. I have a followup appointment with my surgeon next Tuesday. If I am released by him, my oncologist get to decide what to do with me then. So, for my perspective, my schedule may have gone to hell, I may be doing chemo when Jane is here during Thanksgiving which makes me mad, etc. The only thing I thought I could control is no more. HOWEVER, when my surgeon said, "What I can promise you is that your next bowel movement will be a good one.", I exhaled and said, " is all going to be good again!" I know - any "normal" person wouldn't think that was good. Or would they? I hardly know anymore. Sorry, no funny stories today....just haven't had it in me with all of this. Hope you are all have a good day. I will be come around 5:00!!!! Love, Ang

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Please know that I am doing better. I have nothing to say right now, but I am in the mood for a funny story, so I will think about doing my lung biopsy story this weekend. So, for now, I am going to do a couple housekeeping items. Apparently, my blog community has become its own entity and a few people have asked me about Patrick (my old boss from Childhaven) and "My unmet friend." Patrick is doing fine. He hasn't posted in a while, but he has emailed me. His posts are always very popular, but even the best of men need time off once in a while. Second, "My unmet friend" is actually that. I have never met this person, but always welcome her posts. She is someone I have enjoyed getting to know. I know that she has not posted in a while. I, too, am hopeful that she is well just busy with her life. So, let's hope for the positive and not worry. If she is reading, we hope you are well, m'dear!!!! I heard a cancer patient once say, "There is a lot in the world to think about, but nothing much to worry about." Take care, Ang

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


If cancer teaches you anything, it is about today. Today I can do this, so I do. Today I feel bad, so I deal. Today I can go. Today I can't. Today I must find a way to take care of two boys and not let them feel like I am sick and in pain. Today I must dig deeper, pull harder, and reach - for me and for them. Tomorrow will take care of itself and yesterday is history. So, today I went to Mommy and Me with Nolan. I fought to go. I was okay there. My Mom went with just in case and then I got home. We played outside for a bit, watched the garbage man which is Mason's highlight of Tuesdays, and then it hit. These episodes usually start with having to go to the bathroom and end with shaking and sweating. It is a mixture of pain, exhaustion, and anger. So, during it I am taking Nolan upstairs for nap which he wants nothing to do with. I am shaking and sweating. I change his diaper which he is ticked off about, sing to him (very badly) and think, if I can just get him to sleep and Mason off with Grandpa for swimming this afternoon I can get it together. Nolan is down, Mason is downstairs watching Diego, and I am in the bathtub just long enough to ease the pain. The sweating stopped. My voice isn't shaking anymore and I realized I am on the other side of it. Now, you ask, why do I do this to myself? Because I wanted to get out of the house with my boys and be their Mom. Hey, I let my Dad take over swimming!!! I am tired of taking pills and have found alternative ways of dealing with my side effects which I am working through and finding my way. I am actually very optimistic for next round. I pull myself out of the bath tub just in time for Dad to show up to take Mason. Mason asks, "Are you better Mommy?" I say, "Yes, baby, I will be. Go have fun swimming!" He smiles and says, "Okay! Bye Mom." I get myself to the couch and lay there. The house is quiet and I slowly come out of it. Now, I am not jumping into a running suit, but I am better. Mason returns and I am still in my bathrobe. Nolan is up. I lay on the couch and take the opportunity to coach Mason and Nolan how to play trains together on the same track, share, and help each other. This is what I mean by dig deeper because seriously they are 3 1/2 and 20 months. And, I did it. Not a single scream, not a whine. By the end, Mason was offering to help, Nolan was sighing to him "help" and "thank you" and I in a very still celebration cried at my victory. I am half way through this treatment.....half way to go. Happy Tuesday, Ang

Saturday, October 11, 2008

How I spent my anniversary

Thursday was my 14th anniversary to Grant. It, of course, was my bad day. We knew this in advance and decided to "ignore" it and celebrate it sometime in December when I was past this run of chemo and could taste food again. This round was a bit different than previous rounds because we introduced a new drug into the mix - Avastin. It is not a chemo drug, but it is a drug given to me during chemo. It is supposed to cut off the blood supply to tumors and has had very good results. The side effects are high blood pressure, blood clots. and kidney damage. Well, so far, my blood pressure isn't a problem. In fact, it went down after the drug. Obviously, I don't know about the blood clots or the kidney damage, but I am hoping those don't happen to me either. The big thing they told me is that I would have very loose stools and gas - the beauty of this just gets better and better all the time. Well, guess what, I got the gas, but no stool - seriously, no stools. In fact, it was quite the opposite. You know, I would love to suffer from loose stools just one time. Anyhoo, the constipation was so bad I became very sick to my stomach. I got the chills from the chemo and, all in all, felt like crap probably because I was literally full of crap. So, on my anniversary, I asked my husband to hold me and tell me it will all be okay. He, as always, complied. I was trembling, started to cry, told him that I missed Bob and I can't do this without him (there is a great thing to tell your husband), and proceeded to run to the toilet and puke. While what I described is not very romantic, it is a true testament of love because Grant waited IN THE ROOM WHILE I AM PUKING, got me comfortable in bed, kissed me on the forehead and told me that Bob suffered too and even though I didn't see it, he probably cried too, asked me if I needed anything, and then held me until I went to sleep. I am not sure why Grant is so good to me. I would have run for the hills by now. Apparently, he really paid attention to the vows we took 14 years ago; I wish I could say the same. I was just running around like crazed bride. I did send him away this weekend. It has been planned for a while and I knew he would need a break from me - from this. He is golfing this weekend with a couple buddies which is perfect because it is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am very thankful for him. My Aunt Donna is with me this weekend, so I am fine and the boys are in heaven. Happy Canadian Thanksgiving, Ang

Monday, October 6, 2008

Making up time

This weekend I made up for lost time. I started to feel better luckily since my friends from Chicago and NYC were coming into town. Originally, we were supposed to meet up in NYC, but you all know how that turned out. So, in all of their wonderfulness, they came to me. We visited, cooked, and ate all weekend. In fact, I ate more this weekend than I have since I have started back in treatment. My oncologist would be so proud. (What about that 15 lbs I gained before treatment? I have already lost 10 of it.) While I loved every part of the weekend - we even had a mini Kauai reunion at the Pumpkin Patch and Karissa's house - I think my two favorite parts were shopping with Laurie at Fred Meyer and Rick cooking us dinner while watching Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives. I don't know how I got so lucky to have so many amazing friends. I learned a long time ago that God doesn't give you more than you can handle and I think this is how he helps me swallow the cancer pill. With visits like theirs, and care that I receive from family and friends here, I seem to be able to forge on. The sickness in my stomach subsides so that I can go to chemo, my strength comes back so that I can enjoy the boys, and my attitude corrects not for them but because of them. So, I guess, while he gave me a big pill, I got a huge net to fall into. Oh, by the way, did I mention I won the pumpkin sling shot again this year???? Yep, Emma and I won. The first thing I thought was, Cancer sure gives me an edge on this!!!! While they sounded the horn and I was jumping up and down I looked up and thought - Bob is watching with a beer. Salud. Off to chemo tomorrow - love, Ang

Thursday, October 2, 2008

And then, I gave it to Karissa.

Nice, eh???? I am horrible. The good news is - it is fast and furious, even for chemo girl. We are back to normal today and I am hoping to have a great weekend! Love, Ang

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

And then to top it all off

we have the flu. Mason threw up this weekend and we just thought it was too much junk food at the Mariners game, so we didn't worry about it. I started at 2:30am; Grant this afternoon; and Nolan this evening. This is my good week. So, tomorrow we are all on house arrest - no one in, no one out - until we get this under control.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not going as well as I had hoped....

After the first round, I bounced back fast. This round - I am still at home. I have not left the house since I got unhooked on Thursday which means the last thing I did outside my neighborhood, besides chemo and unhook, was Costco on Monday, September 23rd. I even had to call Karissa to help me this morning. It is not that I am a total invalid, but that I am afraid of having an "episode" and being alone with the boys. Karissa is so well trained and the kids run to hug her when she comes. She gets my mind off the crappy part of the process also, so it is a win-win for me and the kids. All Karissa gets is free food which she seems to think is enough and I am not going to inform her otherwise until she asks. When I wasn't bouncing back like I thought I should, I cried. Then, when it just kept going on and on, I got mad. And, now, I am just calm. Everyone is jumping in to help, and, instead of being mad or sad about not being able to care for my family, I am just resigned to it. I am thankful for the help and grateful of the depth of human generosity that is never endingly bestowed on my family. Cancer is that way, you think you got it under control and it shows you don't. In that same vain, I think it is so interesting that there are so many articles and so many websites and so many conversations about "how to prevent cancer". Let's see - diet, exercise, stress - they all have a slant or a message giving you the idea that you actually can control this. The only thing I can think of is I probably put more stress on myself than I should have for little things, but besides that, I did the diet thing, I was never a couch potato, and I didn't have any family history so the next time I hear that I can prevent cancer by having annual exams, doing bloodwork, eating right, and staying active, I think I am going to vomit on the author. During one of my pity parties, I said to a neighbor, "And now they are giving me chemo again....(implying that it was the doctor's fault that I had to get chemo)" and she replied with, "Well, it isn't really their fault they are giving you chemo. They are doing it because the cancer came back." I am looking at her like, this is my pity party, I don't have them often, I know that what you are saying is true, but let's remember this is my party. Then, she continues as my eyes cross, and says, "and you can't blame yourself, you can't control this, and THAT is the sucky part - there is no one to blame and no reason to point to." I didn't know whether to pop off her head or kiss her. She finished with, "You are one of the most positive people I have ever met, so you can't have this party - it is not you." Pop off her head. Unfortunately, or fortunately for her, I was too tired and what she said was true, so she still has her head and I am over my pity party. I even noticed the beautiful sunrise this, Ang

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What did I do today???

I reordered my Netflix's queue, started making vacation plans for when I am in remission, met with the flooring guy for our kitchen (so I had to bathe and look reasonable), and watched Dancing with the Stars becuase Susan Lucci is in it. MUCH BETTER.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Can a person be an "out of control

control freak"? I think I am one. Okay, if you answered, "Of course you can be and YOU are!", you don't need to read the rest. Apparently, you understand concepts that are way above my head. So, here is what happened. On Saturday night, Grant and I got the kids down for bed and went down to start a movie. The movie was "Smart People". If you haven't seen it, it is about a widower. I didn't get that from the previews when I put it in our Netflix queue. Not such a good choice, but I powered on and said, "No problem." At the end of the movie, which ended well if you think that your husband moving on and having illegitimate twins with a girl half your age is A GOOD THING kinda way. And then it hit me - what if I do die of this? What if Grant moved from our house? He can't hang the family photos correctly - he doesn't know how to group them properly. He will definitely get rid of my Lee Bogle - he has never liked it. What if he replaces it with Toronto Maple Leafs Poster? OMG - I have no control of I was updating the kitchen, thinking about building a loft, fixing the house to a perfect condition so that if I did die he wouldn't have anything to worry about except taking care of the kids AND HE MAY TAKE DOWN LEE BOGLE?!?!?!?!?! Okay, so here is the ridiculous part (like the first part wasn't ridiculous), I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT HOW HE MAY NOT WANT TO LIVE HERE IF I AM GONE. I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT HIM MOVING AND ACTUALLY STARTING LIFE AGAIN WITHOUT ME. I always thought he would marry again, but I always thought it would be here, Seattle, home. WAS I ON CRACK? How controlling is that? And, if you are a control freak as exhibited above, how can it be that I am out of control in controlling my departure from this world. I started to cry and hyperventilate. That, by the way, is a REALLY attractive combination. Poor Grant was like, "Wow - what just happened and how did I miss it?" I got over it without breathing in a bag, but it threw me for the whole weekend. Should I take down my pictures? If I do die of this someday, do I liquidate my things before I die to save him that pain of that? Do I tell him to live his life? And, how frickin' twisted is that??? Do I not think of him as a man that could actually take care of himself??? And then, I sit down and sigh. I have no control. That freaks me out because I don't want them to be sad. I don't want them to not live their lives. I want them to love and to live EVERY DAY. I want them to follow their heart, stand up for what is right, and see the beauty of life. And, then I let go, because I don't know when I am going to die. In fact, my oncologist is quite positive that I will be in remission again after this round of treatments. So, I put my wedding photo back on the wall and think he will be able to do this if necessary. Heck, maybe in some strange twist of fate, I will outlive him. Big breath, exhale, stand up, and shake it off. The part that I just described is the worse part of this whole thing. I am going back to reading People Magazine and watching frickin' hilarious movies!!!!! Love, Ang

Friday, September 19, 2008

Who is Jesus?

I am doing pretty well for the most part. Fatigue is the biggest notable difference. I have to watch my diet too. I ate a little too much fruit and now I have mouth sores. Welcome to back opposite world. The world of chemotherapy where you can't have too much good food and they want you to eat lots of fat. I don't know if I will ever get used to that, but whatever! Here is a Mason story....Preschool started. This year, I was there for the first day. When I picked him up, he brought his project and it said, "Jesus loves me." He proudly gave it to me and proclaimed, "Mommy, Jesus loves me!" I said, "I know - isn't that neat!" Then, I saw the wheels turning and he looked up at me and said, "Mommy, who is Jesus?" I started explaining that he is someone that helps us and looks after us. He looked confused and I, clearly, wasn't doing a good job explaining it, so I stopped. I remembered Thomas of Thomas the Train. Mason believes in Thomas as much as Santa. Sometimes, I use Thomas with Mason. For example, I will say, "Would Thomas be proud of you for not listening to Mommy?" or during potty training, I would say, "You know, Mason, Thomas told me that if you have an accident, you don't get any more TV for that day." In fact, we have seen Thomas at the Snoqualime Railway Museum two years running and this past year, he even thanked Thomas for helping him learn how to poop and pee in the potty. This little kid looking up at a full size Thomas saying, "Thank you for helping me..." OMG! SO CUTE. So, back to the story, I said to Mason, "Jesus is kinda like Thomas, but he is not a train." The light went on in his little head and he said, "OOOOOkay!" Not sure Jesus would be happy with that explanation, but I think it worked! Have a great weekend, Ang

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Tonight I came home from my candle party. I say mine, because it is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. I am blessed to have it at an amazing house, with amazing food, with amazing friends, and the most amazing candle lady. So, after my amazing night with my amazing friends, I come home and unwind a bit. I think back on the evening. I reflect on the people I saw, the conversations, the shopping, the connections, the history, the laughter, and I think I go to my fridge, get my chicken salad out (from the party that was packed up for me in gladware), sit on my counter, eat it, and think, "I wouldn't trade my life with anybody - and I have cancer." Wow. Off to bed, Ang

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Doing better and quite well...

Well, Saturday morning I woke up and, while I didn't feel perfect, I felt better. I ate breakfast, lunch, AND dinner and motored around (with breaks) pretty well. I didn't look so good, but it is amazing was people forgive you for when you have cancer. Okay, so something I must share. One of the highlights of my weekend was actually one of the highlights of my year. I got to see a friend of mine - pregnant with twins. She doesn't live in the same city and I didn't think I would see her before she had her bundles of joy, but by strange fate, it worked about and she was here - huge, beautiful, and glorious. The reason she and I are bonded is because of mutual friends, but more for our journeys with infertility. She went down a much harder road than I did. Longer, more disappointing, and horrible, BUT she has perfect little babies in her belly now. I remember her and I sitting in my back yard when I was first diagnosed and she told me she didn't know how much more she could take. Knowing her struggle, fight, and what seemed to be losing battle, I looked at her with Nolan (four months old at the time)on my lap and said, "Oh no, you can't quit now. Not yet. I don't know what has happened to me, but I see you pregnant. You will be pregnant. Please don't quit yet." She had to listen me - I had cancer and a four month old on my lap - seriously - you can't not listen to me! I didn't hear much from her after that because life is busy, we don't live close, and apparently, she was busy......getting herself pregnant. She called me with the news early this year. What she doesn't know is that it was a particularly hard day for me. She turned it all around. The pregnancy was going well. I cried. I cried and I cried. I was so happy, but scared something might go wrong, but happy to have that moment of perfect. Her pregnancy has been blissful. Yeah, she is still pregnant, but no problems. She looks and beams the most beautiful light. I am blessed to have seen her yesterday. There is nothing more beautiful. The babies will come to us around the 25th of September - a boy and a girl. Perfect. Have a great weekend, Ang

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yesterday and today

Well, chemo was okay yesterday. Everyone was great - lots of hugs and lots of people saying things like, "Well, we will get this done and you will be on your way." Very sweet and, apparently, happy to have me back. I am doing fine today, but I am really tired. So, I am laying low and watching stupid movies like "Super Star" and "Best Friends". Two of my favorite stupid movies EVER! Enjoy the sun, Ang

Monday, September 8, 2008

Ready to go...

Time has marched along. I have stocked the house, cleaned the house, attended school orientations, gone camping for the last time this season, ate too much ice cream (including a cone with Emma at 10am during the farmer's market in Sequim just because they were open), and drank too many iced drinks (mochas, coke, water, gin and tonics, mint juleps, smoothies, even a daiquiri which I don't even really like) just because I could. Now, after tonight, my time is up and my diet begins. I am fat and happy, but sad the time didn't last longer. Hopefully, chemo will go as quickly and I will get my break again. Maybe, if everything goes as planned, I will be in remission again. The best Christmas present ever. I can only follow the rules, hope, and pray. I start tomorrow morning - bright and early - hopefully I will see the sunrise. I wanted to tell my story about the lung biopsy, but I am going to wait - it is hilarious and it needs it time to shine. I want today for me and the boys. Have a great week. I will be fine. Well taken care of and highly monitored. If you are not doing anything tomorrow morning, come visit me. I will be on house arrest from 9:30 to 12:00 and then I fall asleep for the last bit. As always, third floor of the Cancer Center (Arnold building). Take care - talk soon, Ang

Monday, September 1, 2008

So, I got my ipod charged up

in anticipation for this whole thing - did you know that it has games on it??? Yeah, I know, I am leaping into 2004. Anyhoo, I have had some time to calm down, reflect, get pissed, turn the page, and get focused. The process has gone extremely easily for me. Maturity??? No. Age??? No. Experience???? No. Bowing down to the cancer, accepting that this in my destiny, looking at the evil beast again, and saying, "Fine. Game on you insignificant tool." So, back to the ipod.....I came across the song, "I like big butts...." which is good, because my butt is not currently fitting in my jeans. Apparently, you can eat that much ice cream in that short of time. I think of the saying, "A second on the lips, forever on the hips." Yep, not for me, approximately 1 week, 19 hours, and 42 mins. Funny story....when I went in for my follow up CT scan, they gave me the choice of three flavors of barium contrast for me to drink. I said, "I don't do barium. It should be in my chart. I use the yummy yummy juice. Thanks." She said, "Oh, yes, here it is, we don't use the juice anymore, so you will have to do the barium. Which would you like?" I said politely, "None." She said, in the nicest way she could, "I don't know what to do." I said, "I will take vanilla, but you should let me drink it in one of the rooms, because you probably don't want me puking in the lobby." She complied and took me back. When I saw the tech, the only one I don't know in the clinic, I said, "Y'know I am going to push back on this a bit and ask why I can't do the juice." This poor girl said, "I am not really sure, but we got rid of the other stuff." I told her that I was usually sick for 15 hours after drinking that stuff and, since becoming a cancer patient, I don't give up 15 hours easily. And, then, the tears came. I am not sure why. I could have powered through it, but I wasn't prepared for barium, for being sick. I was scared of what the test would show. I was sick to my stomach barium???? Pause. And that is when everyone started moving. She was like, "I will check with the docs", the techs I do know came in the room saying,"we will work something out", "we just got rid of it yesterday", "can't we get any from the hospital CT lab?", "she really does get sick", "ask the docs", and, then, silence. I wiped my tears and waited in the back room. The response came from the docs who I have never seen or heard. I am thinking they are similar to the Great Wizard of Oz. The response was, "We will allow the blankity blank contrast this time, but you need to prepare yourself for next time." As the tech told me, I was thinking, "Is that a quote????" She was looking at me like, "Please don't shoot the messenger." I said, "Fine, I will have my discussion with Hank." They walked all the way over to the hospital and got me my juice, I drank it, took the pictures, and was out of there. I kept asking why I could not use the juice. My final understanding was simply "the docs like barium better". I was thinking, "Then they can drink it." So, the man behind the screen that I am not allowed to talk to or hear, doesn't like it...F-I-N-E. Here is the funny part....when I talked to my oncologist, I explained everything and said, "Is there really a difference for them?? Why have I been allowed to use the juice if it doesn't work???" When I was told that he would speak to them and to consider it taken care of, I replied with, "Y'know Hank, I don't think they got the memo that they really love me and will do anything I say because, after all, I am Princess Grace." (A lung biopsy doc when I was first diagnosed called me Grace Kelly and the name stuck for a while....) My oncologist replied with, "I will check the distribution list and make sure they get a copy." GRIN. As a follow up, when I went in for my lung biopsy a week later, I had a different doctor than the first time, BUT the "Grace Kelly" doctor past by me, stopped, looked at me, and said, "Grace Kelly is back!" I guess the memo got redistributied....hehehe Happy Labor Day, Ang

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

While I am frantically

running around getting ready for this (cooking, organizing the freezer, list making for Costco, etc.), I am eating ice cream the entire time. I won't be able to do that soon as my "cold" side effect will set in soon. My butt is growing by the second, oh well, I have an automatic diet coming soon. Anyhoo, many people have already asking about helping and offered assistance. THANK YOU. I really feel that I can get the house under control before I go in, I have spoken to Sarah about help during the 12 weeks of treatment until we know if we have to continue. She and I have put a calendar together for help - basically dinners and a monthly work party. If you did not get the email from me about this, you can contact her directly at and tell her what you are interested in and what level (monthly, backup, once, etc.). Thank you again - back to ice cream.... Love, Ang

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday night

It went something like this....I was fine...really fine.....then, I was shredding cheese for pizza that night and I shredded my thumb knuckle REALLY DEEP. As I was providing direct pressure to stop the ridiculous amount of bleeding, I was looking for my knuckle in the cheese. Yes, I was trying to fine it. One, I didn't want to throw away all that cheese, and two, I thought I should be pretty easy to find. Apparently, my lily white skin is the EXACT color of mozzarella. I am like, "Are you kidding me? Shouldn't I be able to find this? Why doesn't this happen when I shred cheddar?" So, after a long period of time looking for the skin, the bleeding still had not stopped. I went upstairs saying over and over again, "Can't it just stop already?" I was getting a band aid, alcohol, and looking for the neosporin. I am neurotic about cuts. I have been so used to everything taking so long to heal because of chemo. I thought this will take forever!!!! I couldn't find the neosporin, my finger was still bleeding, and I finally knelt down and cried, "I just want it all to stop." And, then, in my bathroom, kneeling on the floor, holding my thumb, I cried until I couldn't see. When I was done, like perfect time, my thumb had stopped bleeding and I found the neosporin. I got my thumb all set, went downstairs, threw out all the cheese, and started all over again. Shortly there after, the garage door opened with husband and my kids smiling. Grant knew. We had talked earlier. When he saw me, he said, "We will be just fine. You will do it again. Nice band aid." (The blood had come through. So much for direct pressure.) With a hug and a kiss, we got dinner on the table, ate, played, did baths, and got the kids to bed. Grant and I didn't talk much about it, just a little about scheduling, which day to start, who could drive me, Karissa's schedule is better on Thursdays, when Elaine is out of town, etc. We ended up watching the Olympics as we become addicted to them every two/four years. Grant fell asleep on the couch and I headed upstairs. Yes, after 14 years of marriage, you leave them on the couch. Just as I laid my head down, Mason opened his door and told me he had a bad dream. I tucked him back in and went back to bed. Then, he was back at the door, afraid of the dark. I tucked him back in, sang him a song, waited for him to fall asleep, and went back to bed. Then, it was something else, and then, something else. I finally said, out of exhaustion, "Come sleep with me, but when Daddy comes to bed, you are going in your room." "Okay, Mommy" he replied in his sleepy little voice. When he laid on Grant's pillow he fell right asleep. Of course, now I was up starring at his little face remembering the first time I found out I had cancer and how I watched him sleep for hours thinking that was it. I just watched him for a while, my insides turning, my mind moving, and my gut wrenching. I know what changed in those moments. I can't explain it, but, it ended with me brushing his hair off he forehead and whispering, "Not then and not now baby boy.....not now." and I finally went to sleep. Thank you for all the emails, prayers, phone calls, flowers, and thoughts. I haven't been on the computer since Friday. Love, Ang

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's cancer.

I start chemo the week of the 8th. I am not sure of my feelings right now other than this is a big huge inconvenience. I am grateful that I can wait to start treatment so that I can be there for Mason and Nolan's first day of school. I am grateful that it gave me five months off and that I did so much in those months. I am grateful to live here with great care, great insurance, and a great support network, but I am still sad that I have to put everyone through it. Big sigh, Ang

Monday, August 18, 2008

Biopsy tomorrow

Well, they decided that they couldn't do a needle biopsy, so off to the hospital I go tomorrow for surgery. I check in at 7:30 and, as of right now, I will go home tomorrow around 1:30, not that I really know what is happening. All I know is that I can't eat or drink after midnight, it will take 30 to 60 minutes, and I need 2 hours for recovery. Tonight, I dropped off the kids at my parents. This time, I put them to bed myself. Nolan was fighting me putting on his PJs and finally I said, "Fine, you show me how you brush your teeth." He abruptly snapped of it and, with a smile, he popped up, ran to the bathroom, got his stool, climbed up, and looked at me. I gave him his toothbrush with the paste on it, he brushed, rinsed, wiped his face, got down, and ran over to the couch in my parents room for books. Mason came up, I changed him into his PJs, he did a similar routine with the teeth, and went to pick out his books. I almost cried. They have such a routine there. One that I had no idea of; their mother had no idea of. One that came from staying with someone else so many times. Oddly, the guilt didn't overwhelm me this time. I just shook my head in amazement, brushed away the tears, and kissed them good night, of course, after reading. On the way home, after eating dinner with my parents, I heard a song I hadn't heard in a long, long time. This is on the cusp of talking to Grace, a college buddy, about getting a bunch of people together from college for our 40ths. The song was "Fishing in the Dark" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. I remember singing it in Jack and Dan's with Lisa from college. She and I sang that and Garth Brooks "Low Places" on a couple occasions. So, down went the windows, the sun roof opened, I cranked the stereo, and sang. This time I wasn't on the freeway - oh well!!! I was alone again, on the fight again, contemplating the fine line between life and death again and singing my frickin' head off. Thanks for the memory Lisa - I made my evening. Happy Monday, Ang

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You don't know till you know, but you

kinda know... So, last month's PET and CT scan lead to a follow up CT this month which I will tell you a story about later. This month's has lead to scheduling a lung biopsy which is in the works now. This is basically what is happening...I have two growths that have increased in size by 66% and 50%. Now, lets keep this in perspective, the largest one is 13.4 mm which is about a half inch. Both are not showing up in the PET scan has active cancer, but they are showing up in the CT scan as growing. There is an outside chance that they are something else - a fungus, virus, etc., but when I look into my oncologist's eyes and say, "There is a good chance that it is was it was before." He replies with, "Yes, there is a good chance it is cancer." So, the we do the biopsy to be sure. I am not sure how long that will take as different methods are being reviewed. The problem is that it is so small you have to get a big enough sample to test in order for it to be valid. So, can you do that with a needle and hit it? Do they cut me? All of those are for them to figure out. I will probably have results by the end of next week with a plan for treatment if necessary. If I go back into treatment, it would be chemo again - same type, same routine. But this time I am healthy and I am expecting to do very well at it. I mean, yeah, it is still chemo, but the alternative is way worse. So, if you are still wondering why we are treating something that is not registering "cancer" think of it this way....if you have a growth somewhere, say a polyp in your colon, they remove it and test it for cancer. This is the same thing they are testing it to see if it has cancer cells BEFORE it gets nasty and says, "Hey, look at me, I am going to spread and kill you." We are beating it to the punch and saying (with treatment), "Yeah, well, we showed up too. Hit me with your best shot sucker!" Welcome to cancer "maintenance". I am oddly calm about all of this. Probably because I have such an amazing support network, maybe because I know there is a solution, maybe because a friend of mine is getting my "TINK" hat in Disneyland as we speak (appropriate for chemo I'd say), I don't know. So, if I have made plans with you lately and I don't show up, forgive me. Life is going to get a little interesting in the next little bit. Don't worry - I am, Ang

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tinker Bell

Tinker Bell has been with me since pixy dust and stars during chemo. When I went to Disneyland in June, I took so many pictures of her. I had a pink shirt of her that said, "Believe" on it. (No, it didn't come in brown.) She was my girl. My Mom cautiously said something like, "Isn't she a bit of a pest and not very nice?" I replied yes, but she is determined, stubborn, and knows what she wants. When I got home, I looked her up. I didn't know when I would use this information, but now seems to be the right time. So, for the record, yes, she can be "ill-behaved and vindictive", but she can also be "helpful and kind". Here is the part that I identify with.."...fairies are dependent on the belief of others to survive. In one famous scene, she (Tinkerbell) is dying, but will survive if enough people believe in fairies. In the play the characters make a plea to the children watching to sustain her by shouting out "I believe in fairies," and clapping...." In the end, if you believe, it is so in life and beyond. I go tomorrow for my follow up CT scan. I am curious, hopeful, scared, nervous, and irritated, but if I believe that I can deal with whatever comes my way - I can. So, up with the boot straps, on with the wings, pack up the fairy dust, and let's get on with it. I should have bought the cap in Disneyland - it was a Army Cap that said, "Tink" on it. Appropriate, huh???? Happy Monday, Ang

Monday, August 4, 2008

Bob's Funeral

Bob funeral was Saturday. I was glad I went. The DVD was amazing and allowed me to look into his life before cancer. The service was hard because it is like looking in a mirror. Will this be me? Will my end be like this? During the ceremony, there was a time to remember Bob. Many family members spoke, some long time friends, climbing instructors, etc. No one from cancer. I wanted to speak, but I couldn't. It was too close, too raw, and I didn't want to screw it up by crying. Was I worthy enough to speak at his funeral? I had only known him for a little over a year. Would have people wanted me to speak? Was I making it all about me? Probably not, no, and probably yes. After the service, I met a lot of people from Weyerheauser (sp) and saw some mutual friends. I stood in line to speak to Nancy (his wife) and while I was saying I was so sorry and telling her if she needed anything to call me I started to cry AGAIN. Like seriously, what widow is going to call the crying chick to help her???? I am SUCH a loser. We had a nice conversation. She asked about me....of course she did....she is normal and I am the crying lunatic. I told her I was fine, that they are monitoring me closely but remission continues and then, yes, then, as I turned she said, "Let me give you this." She kissed my check and hugged me hard. She said, "This is from Bob. He cared for you so much." PERFECT - that helped the crying go straight into "fit" stage. I nodded, and as carefully and gracefully as I could exited the back of the building. What happened there I think you all can imagine. As I was getting myself back together, I could feel Bob. I thought I am a TRUE nutbar now. All I felt him say was, "Yes, this sucks. Go get a beer (he was an avid beer maker) and your liver is fine!" I didn't think that was very funny. His stage four went to his liver. I got myself together and went back to the reception to find my girlfriend I came with. As I was waiting, Meredith (his daughter) who I met once saw me, crossed the room, and came to give me a hug. I thought she was going to someone dorkiness continues. We talked about Western and how Caitlin, my fake niece (long story), is waiting for her call to show her around. Words didn't come easily to me, but Meredith like her Dad, is quirky enough not worry about trivial things like that. In the end, I was completely taken care of by the grieving family - FABULOUS. I met up with my girlfriend and her husband and we decided to go get that beer. Some people were going to the Issaquah Brewery for Dead Guy Ale. I couldn't be gone for that long, so we went to the RAM in Kent and got Butt Face Amber. After the beer, I felt a little better. I still am thinking about what I would have said at the funeral that day because I need to say it to him. Maybe I will blog it later.....I am trying to respect the process in all this. I miss him. Love, Ang P.S. During all of this, Susie called. She listened to me and said, "Honey, life is frickin' short. Have you heard of Canyon Ranch? I think you need to go. I just got back and was amazing..." and then she made me laugh and laugh and laugh.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shifting down and hitting the gas

The last couple weeks have been wonderful, perplexing, and bittersweet. Wonderful because I just got back from a wedding in Vegas without the boys. This is the first time that Grant and I have been away without the boys that didn't have to do with fertility or cancer. We had great time despite the 107 degree weather. We relaxed by the pool, ate amazing food, explored National Parks, Hoover Dam, walked around looking at all the amazing hotels, and gambled a little bit. Grant saw some professional basketball players at our hotel. I can't remember all of them, but one was Kobe whateverhisnameis. Perplexing because I always catch myself saying, "When we come back.." or "Next time we can take the boys....". While I LOVE the fact that I am thinking like that, I sometimes stop myself and take pause. I don't know what to do with the pause, but I take it anyway - whatever that means. Don't get me wrong, I understand that I will live a "long" time with management of my cancer. I still don't know what the definition of "long" is. I prefer to think of it as 41 years, but I think the official definition may be a smige (sp) shorter. Bittersweet because I keep hearing Bob's voice in my head, things that he emailed me, and his spirit. While I didn't know him very long, people that meet and live under severe circumstances are bonded quickly. We had a unique and special relationship that I will never forget and think of often. I truly don't believe that I would have been able to have the emotional strength without him. Why bittersweet? Because I would have never met him without cancer - the thing that ended him physically. So, here is what I met by the title.....I have been to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale more this year that in many previous years. Last year, I went once because Mason saw the catalog and wanted a pair of sandals. I got them for him. I looked like crap, and was exhausted doing it, but I did it - for him. I didn't get anything for me. I didn't have the energy and, quite frankly, last summer we didn't know if I would be around, so why spend the money. Well, this year was quite different. First, I will now be around for a "long" time. Second, I met Susie in radiation with her jewelry, hats, and gems saying to me, "What!?!?!?! Now is the time to spend it all!!!!" I love Susie. You never met a women that could pull off boots and animal prints like she could IN TREATMENT. So, my cousin and my girlfriend invited me to go and I bought clothes, a little makeup, and SHOES. God, I love shoes. In the last little bit, I have had to exchange and return a few things each time going up a highway by my house that has several lights on it. If you time it just the right way you can hit all greens. As I was going up and down this highway in the car with the manual transmission, I was thinking that this it was a lot like my cancer. Sometimes, I will have to stop. Sometimes, I will see caution. Sometimes, I will get the green light. I hear Bob's voice saying, "Easy. It is all about timing and pushing yourself when you can." I go through a couple lights, stop at one knowing that I time it right I will get all greens. So, I open the sunroof and crank the stereo still hearing Bob's voice. And, when I come to the next time it turns yellow, but this time I shift down and hit the gas getting green lights the entire way with Bob voice, "That's it - perfect." Happy Monday, Ang

Monday, July 21, 2008


He made me laugh when I thought I couldn't, he answered every cancer question in complete researched detail, he cheered me on and he is not a cheerleader, and he gave me hope when I really thought there was no point. Bob died yesterday in his sleep. His fight is over. I know that his pain is gone and I believe that he is at peace - hiking somewhere. I feel a little lost, but I will find my footing and my strength - his strength. Above is a picture of us at the Relay for Life. He picked the cancer shirt I was to wear that peas in a pod. He will be missed, but not forgotten. Ang

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Technology - ain't it grand?!?!?!

So, apparently, I hit my enable/disable "wireless network" button, couldn't connect ANYWHERE yesterday and the best part - I had no idea where the button was. Yep, gettin' old. Anyhoo, found the button at 3:30 am and I am back online. Here are the results. I am still in remission, but there are a couple locations in my left lung that he wants to rescan next month. Luckily, my PET scan, the one that measures cancer, was perfect. No cancer. It is the CAT or CT scan, the xray one, that he wants to do again. I am not worried too much and my oncologist wasn't worried, but wants to be sure which I completely appreciate. He was more concerned that my expectations of being "perfect" weren't met which is what makes him a REALLY good doctor. We talked a lot about what my expectations should be in my survivorship and that this will happen now and again and could be nothing. If it is something, we manage it, treat it if necessary, and go on our merry way. At least it is just a CT scan where I fast for a couple hours - not days of prep - throw myself on the table and it is over in 10 minutes. When I got over that, we went into my questions. One of them went like this....."Dude, I just glanced at my driver's license yesterday, and I forgot that I am an organ donor. I can't be an organ donor!!! What if I gave this to somebody? Should I just donate my body to science and how do I do that?" His response with his head sideways and looking at me like I am a NUTBAR, "You are going to need your body for a while yet, but corneas (sp) are fine. Call the DMV and have them update it." Okay, check. Off to bed....Ang

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Do Over Year

So, not a lot cancer related has happened since the last post. Life is trucking along and I find myself saying, "We can do that next year." or "I think this would be fun in a couple years." Both of those statements I would have never even thought of a year ago. A year ago, I was thinking that this may be my last summer, last fall, last Christmas. I was thinking about what do to for my boys, how to secure Grant if I would past away and he was left with the boys at such a young age. Now, I am not thinking that way, but other things are going through my mind. For example, when I was diagnosed one of the first things we purchased was an air conditioner for our bedroom. It draws from the front window and is free standing. The intake goes over the bath tub. Okay, stay with me, I am going somewhere with this. So, last week, I was cleaning my bathroom, and I said, "How did I clean this with the tube in the way last summer?" Then, I remember.....I didn't. I never cleaned the tub last summer because I was sick, because I couldn't, because I was so weak that cleaning wasn't on my radar yet my house was cleaner than it has ever been because everyone else cleaned if for me (and they never complained about it). It throws me back to one of my best friends sweating outside pulling weeds behind our fence. When she took a break we were talking and she said, "Why didn't this happen to me?" I know what she was saying because we are that close. She isn't married, she doesn't have children. I know what she was saying and, because of it, I couldn't respond to her and I am rarely left speechless. A few weeks later when we talked, I found the strength to tell her to never say that again, that she is still a sister, daughter, friend, auntie, etc. etc. etc. and that she should never, ever say that again. No, it wasn't fair that I got this. It was a cruel joke that God should threaten to take me so soon from my kids, but we never know our path and our journey is not all together controllable. The line between life and death is very fine.....we are all there and that is why we need to live life NOW. Obviously, this should be done within reason and responsibly. Carpe diem - seize the day. In Spanish there is a verb "aprovechar". (Spelling may be off.) It means to seize the opportunity/day/enjoy the moment. English doesn't have these words, or at least, not in the same context. Remember, we only have today. So, this is my "Do over year". I plan to seize it, but I get thrown back and I cry and I think, "What if it comes back?" For example, my PET scan is this week - results on Friday and I worry. Then, I remember, I only have today. I will deal with that tomorrow. Provecho, Ang

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dearest Patrick.....

I still have a few boundaries! You will just have to Love, Ang

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Great news

I had my first colonoscopy as a rectal cancer survivor was yesterday. I had my breakdown in the morning. Practicing for bad news? Maybe - I am not sure. When I arrived for the procedure my blood pressure was 160 over 81....yeah, just a bit high. But by the time I saw my surgeon etc, my blood pressure was way down. I wore my, "What's up your butt?" t-shirt. I got a few looks, but the nurses in GI totally got it and let me wear it into the procedure. The nurse who was prepping me was Canadian. I have a way of knowing these things. smile So, we started talking about that and how it is hard to meet people in Seattle. We talked about her seven month old, how he moves all over the crib, Dr. Brown bottles, etc. I told her not to give up on Seattlites - we are a rare breed but, when the worst comes, loyal beyond comprehension. I told her about all the help I had and how it made all the difference for me and my family. We ended with her saying, "Well, you have had quite enough of all that. It is time for this (the colonoscopy)to be fine and for you and your family to move on." Translation for the Americans, "Well, what a pile of crap - let's get this over with so you can get on with your life!" You may not like it, but you're laughing because it is true! As quickly as I laid down and turned on my side, I was awake, but really groggy, so groggy I was able to pass gas with other people in the room (quite a feat for me). My chart was next to me. I was trying to read it. All I remember was, "Patient took more meds than usual. Everything else fine." What the heck did that mean? The nurse noticed me and asked how I was doing. I said fine, but I was really out of it. She told me that they had to dope me up more than usual. (That Canadian probably gave me the good stuff!) I got dressed and quickly figured out that I was not walking up to the surgeon's office. So, I got a ride. My surgeon wanted to talk to me personally. His Office Administrator had warned me that he would call me to the office - good or bad, so I was prepared. I don't remember a lot of the visit, but my Mom said that he said, "You now have the colon of a 16 year old. I removed two tiny polyps of no consequence. You can't even tell where the tumor was or that you had had radiation. So, I can tell you with certainty, you have nothing up your butt." I managed to get out of chair and I hugged him. I hope it wasn't sloppy like being drunk. My Mom said it fine. We went back down to GI, dropped off the chair, and I walked REALLY slowly to the car. I think I made a crack to Mom about how some people go and get new nose, cheekbones, etc, I went for a new colon, but maybe I dreamt it - who knows. Apparently, I got home, fell asleep, played with the kids, watched CARS, talked to Karissa, and checked email, but all of that is pretty foggy. So, if you send me something yesterday or talked to me on the phone, I may have no memory of it. In the end (yes, I am hilarious), this is very good news. Typically, colon cancer comes back fast and in the same location that it started. So, I have dodged the second most deadly cancer again. I will have a PET scan in the middle of July that will tell me if it has returned anywhere else. It is unlikely, but it was unlikely that I had cancer in the first place. It was unlikely I kept my hair during treatment....see where I am going with this? I take nothing for granted however, I hope for the best because cancer can't take that from me - good or bad. Feeling happy, relieved, and humbled all in the same moment, Ang

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Everyone keeps asking me

..."How are YOOOOUUUU d-o-i-n-g?!?!?" I am starting to look to the side and say, "Are you talking to me?", but I respond with, "I a-m are YOOOUUU d-o-i-n-g???" Apparently, this is because I didn't say much about my last exam with my oncologist. Well, here is how it went. Oncologist sees me one hour after my appointment and I am STARVING. Enter Oncologist, "How are you????" "I am fine. How are you?" "I am good." "Great, how am I?" "Great!" "Great!" (We are like cheerleaders at this point.) Both look around and say, "What you are doing this summer????" We chat for a little bit and I finally say, "Okay, so I am getting a colonoscopy on the 28th of this month, when do you want the PET/CT scan?" He tells me in the middle of July and then I say, "If it comes back, I will be really pissed." He replies, "I will too." and he looks at me. It is just him and me in the office and I start to cry. He says, "You have been so good about all of this. It is natural to be nervous about the scans and if it comes back." I reply, "But I have nothing to be sad for - my story is a happy one - I have friends that...." He replies to me saying, "I have a guy that is seven years out - never had it come back and he still is a wreck every time he comes." I am thinking, "I am not a wreck - I am just crying - you want to see a wreck, stay tuned!", but I didn't say anything. I got myself together and finished the exam. He told me that he would be on vacation returning the Monday after my colonoscopy, so if anything comes up. I looked at him and said, "Nothing is going to come up, so I HAVE NO IDEA WHY YOU ARE SAYING THAT." He looked at me with a straight face and said, "Clearly you are right - my mistake." And, with a hug, I leave, go home, eat at 2:00, start to exhale and relax, get spots in front of my eyes, and get a migraine. Clearly, I am still effected. Such is life cancer free. So, here is the status.....I am three months cancer free. By my next appointment, I will have had a colonoscopy and a PET/CT scan. If those are clear, God willing, I will be four months cancer free. If I get to six months and remain cancer free, my odds go way up and I mean WAY UP. So, as I walk this road with people that are beside me (some cancer free, some not, and some not with us anymore), I still have fear, I still wonder, and I still cherish every moment because what if? So, I am fine, but I not, but I am - make sense? :) Ang

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Of those that are still reading my blog, many of you have asked me, "Who is Pat and Mag?" You love their posts, laugh out loud, and praise me for having them in my life. I take no credit on the last one. They chose me. I had NO IDEA what an honor that would be until way after it happened. I was that naive. I have always prided myself on be a good judge of character, but I missed them completely. They sneak up on you or something - I am still not sure that is how sneaky they are! Anyway, enough about me. Here is your answer.....Patrick and Maggie are are quite simply, two amazing people. They make you laugh when you want to cry and make sure the tissue is available when you do want to cry, because everyone needs to cry even if it is from laughing. I adore them both, but for ENTIRELY different reasons. For those of you who know them, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about and for those of you that don't, may you meet them someday. I have been thinking about them a lot this past week because, unfortunately, even amazing people are not exempt from the pain of cancer. They recently lost a family member to it. So, while they were fighting cancer in their family, they made time to post on my blog religiously, follow my progress, and cook meals that they delivered from over a hour away. You see how amazing they are? So, for all of you that loved pat&mag posts, say a prayer for them tonight - they are in mine. Love, Ang

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Tonight we had dinner at my parents to celebrate Father's Day. My parents live on a good size property especially for the Seattle Area - the house sits on the hill and their pasture goes down to the street. My favorite time of day there is just before the sun goes over the next hill. The house glows with afternoon light as the sun comes through the trees. It is just beautiful. Around that time, I could not see or hear Mason, so I went to look for him. I went where I would be and I found him in the pasture at the top of the hill looking at the trees the way I do. I just watched him for a few seconds. When he saw me he smiled and said, "Mommy, you play with me?" The timing wasn't great, but I couldn't resist and said, "Yes, baby, I will." He rolled down the hill and ran to the trees that filter the sunlight in the summer. He looked back up at the house and said, "My ball is so far away. So is Grandma and Grandpa's house!" We climbed a tree, or should I say, he did and I spotted him. Then, when I was time to go back, he didn't want to climb the hill, so I dared him to run. "You run with me?" he asked smiling up at me. I looked down at his amazing little face, "GO!" And we ran all the way back. Enjoy your week, Ang

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Life at warp speed....

As I get stronger and stronger, we go faster and faster. In the past few weeks, we have started upgrading the kitchen, assembled a cedar shed, assembled a swing set, and gone to DISNEYLAND. Yep, Disneyland - more on that in a bit. I wonder if we are trying get back the year I was sick, or maybe it is that we are not waiting for anything anymore. Maybe it is we are thinking that we must do everything right now right this very minute so that we don't have to worry about it if I get sick again. Or, maybe this how normal people are who feel well. I am not sure I will ever know for sure, but what I know is that everyday I wake up, I look at the clock and think, "One more day.....thank you." As for all the house projects, Grant and I decided two things. The first, to stay in our house instead of moving (which was the original plan before cancer) and, the second, was to do what we always wanted to the house and not stress so much about spending the money. Hence, PROJECTS. Will they never end?????? On to Disneyland - that is a happier topic! What a place! What I think is funny is that only one person asked me why I was going like it was a crazy idea and I responded with, "Doesn't everyone go to Disneyland when something goes extremely wrong or, in my case, extremely right?" Yes, my kids are too young, but this trip was for me and so they had pictures with their Mom at Disneyland - just in case. Mason loved everything I thought he wouldn't like and didn't like everything I thought he would. Favorite part? For me, there were two things. First, it was Nolan staying awake in the long line for Nemo and then falling asleep during the ride. Second, it was Mason asking to go on Autopia with me and insisting that I drive. HUGE COMPLIMENT FROM A KID WITH A TRUCK. For Mason, Tigger, Lighthing McQueen, and Donald Duck - HANDS DOWN. For Nolan, was there anything he didn't like? When Mason would get scared on a ride, Nolan was like, "BRING IT ON DUDE!!!" The weird part was, Grant, Mason, and I all got sick for 12 hours. Luckily, it went in a line so that we were not all sick at the same time. WEIRD. Well, it is back to reality and I have my oncologist appointment tomorrow. Hopefully, I get clearance for another 30 days cause we have camping booked, bark to spread, etc. etc. etc.! ;) Happy Tuesday!