Monday, January 28, 2008

Fortune Cookies

When I was going through infertility, I would put faith in strange things. One of them - fortune cookies. Yep, my dirty little secret is out. Even worse is when I became pregnant, I paid attention to them more. Cue the rolling of Grant's eyes. One of the only things I could eat with Mason was Thai soup. My favorite restaurant had no air conditioning and even when it was 95 degrees, I would be eating Thai soup there - sweating. I would carefully take home every fortune and tape them into his pregnancy journal believing that somehow they would help my baby come to term, be healthy, etc. Nolan was the same and cancer was no different. After diagnosis, John, my neighbor, came home with a bag of fortune cookies. I saved every fortune. I read them all and saved them all. I don't know what I am going to do with them, but the are safe in my cancer spot in my study. There are too many of them to list here, but they say things like, "You will enjoy financial freedom." Whoop tee do. "You will live a long and happy life." Check - their lips(?) to God's ears. "People enjoy your company." Well that would have to be bookclub or scrapbooking because I don't do anything else anymore! You know.....fortune cookies. Well, Mason has always loved Asian food (not like he has a choice), but today he opened up two fortune cookies that said, "Your heart is pure, and your mind clear, and your soul devout." and "You will enjoy good health and financial independence." There are two for the scrapbook. Crap now I am saving them for him! Happy Monday, Ang

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mason went in the POOL!

Half way through the lesson last night Mason finally went in the pool and had a blast! I, of course, wasn't there, but I was home with the phone in hand to call Grant right after the lesson was over. VICTORY! I talked to Mason and we both gleefully cheered, "YEAH MASON!" a couple of times before they went to McDonald's for the french fry celebration. He and Nolan come home today. Things are going pretty well, but of course, I felt well this morning, did too much and now I am struggling a bit. Such is my life - will I ever learn? Or maybe this is the beginning of me truly living in the moment, enjoying it and/or dealing with it. There is one silver lining sort of thing I discovered this week. Beauty tip #2 for those with rectal cancer - when you take two to three sitz bathes a day for eight weeks, your butt is a soft as a baby's. Thought you might want to know. I forgot beauty tip #1, but I am on chemo! Tomorrow, my follow up exam with the radiation oncologist (that should be fun) and my overdue OB appointment. All I need now is a bladder infection and they can look at everything! Good part about tomorrow is that my aunt Donna is coming with me and we are bringing Nolan. It will be the first time I bring one of the kids with me to the cancer center. I thought I would start with Nolan. He is a bit famous there as he was three months old when I was diagnosed. I will let you know how it goes, but I am pretty sure HE will be fine. Happy Thursday, Ang

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Update - I am fine....sorry!

So, here is the update: Mason - The dentist appointment went fabulously. He went into the room without me, chatted it up with the dentist, held still for x-rays, and got a toy! He LOVED the dentist. Two hours later, at swimming, he cried bloody murder. So, my kid loves the dentist and hates swimming. In his defense, this is the first set of classes that he has been to that Grant, Dad, or I, have not been in the pool with him. I guess the adjustment is a tad much for the kid. Still the dentist - are you kidding me???? On to Nolan...Nolan has just spent a week waking up earlier and earlier and earlier. The earliest was 3:50. Well, by the seventh day, I was done. We had tried everything - feeding him, him feeding himself because we feel asleep feeding him, checking his temperature for infections, etc. etc. etc. Finally, because this happened with Mason too, when the 3:50 morning came I went in his room (my study) checked him out, saw nothing was wrong, and said, "I love you more than I can say, but I am too tired and it is night night time still, so I am going to leave and I am not coming back. I am even going to turn off the monitor. I love you - you have to trust that this is the best." I am not sure how long he cried because I was asleep. At least this time I knew he would be fine as heart wrenching as it was, I had to break this habit not only for him, but for me. Grant fell asleep shortly after I did and at 7:30 Nolan awoke a happy happy baby. We all sighed relief and knew the worse was over. Grant - he is good - tired like me, but good. Me - well, I had chemo yesterday and they had to lower it again because my white blood cell count continues to decline. Everything else is good, but I am weakening which I assume is to be expected. He asked me how I was doing and I replied, "I feel like a chimp most of the time. I itch under my arms something awful and I am always looking at my butt to see my progress in healing. It is almost unnatural....unless, of course, you are chimp or some other primate." He looked at me and smiled. He said, "You are one of the funniest people I have every met." I am thinking tough audience - you NEVER laugh! So, now I can't use deodorant because of my itch and I have to moisturize under my arms. There is a flip! I told him that I am only able to pull off everything I can because my friends and family pull up the slack, so I can't stink or they won't help me anymore! He smiled again (apparently laughing on the inside) and moved on to my examination. He told me that my butt looked good and everything else was normal.....expect the cancer part, but you know that is my normal. Here is a thought....the other day, I was in a situation where I used the phase, "Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence." And then I thought, wait a minute, nobody wants MY least not right now.......DARN! Don't worry - I am fine - doing much better after talking to my social worker - she is just what I needed......Love, Ang

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

How is cat food more tasty

than the food I feed Nolan? Okay seriously, I buy the BEST baby grub for that kid and he eats cat food. Today, I ran outside to put something else is the recycle bin for pick up and apparently that was enough time for Mr. Nolan to race into where the cat food is, chow down, and get back to playing like nothing happened. I discovered it when I started playing with him and smelled cat food on his breath (or his breath smells exactly like my cats!). I did a sweep of his mouth and sure enough - cat food. I suppose some would say that is lack of supervision, but holy cow! My driveway is only 17.5 feet long and I move pretty fast for a cancer girl. Anyhoo, I am doing pretty well even though my parenting skills need to be sharpened. While I am not passing gas to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, I am not crying, gnashing my teeth, or wincing, when I poop - THAT IS PROGRESS! Tomorrow is a big day - Mason's first dental appointment and his second swimming lesson. Last week's lesson went horribly and when I asked Mason about what happened (because I could not be there due to treatment) he said, "Mommy, I can't swim!" I explained that that is why he was there - they would teach him how. I just looked up at my innocently and said, "O-o-o-o-h-h-h-h." Hopefully we do better tomorrow. Looking for a new cat food location......Love, Ang

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Morning walk

This morning, after a long night's sleep, and listening to the rain, I went for a walk on the bike trail by my house. The rain was still slipping off the branches of the trees and I could hear the sounds of the city in the background. A breeze came up behind my neck and I looked at the river - the same river I used to look at on the back of my Dad's bike when I was little. I thought about all that had changed between then and now. Sometimes when I walk on the trail I have to go to this one spot. It is a small treed area that I remember even when I was little. I loved it then because it was shade on a hot summer day with my legs sticking to the plastic seat I was strapped to - very uncomfortable I might add. I love it now because I go there, close my eyes, and exhale. I get power from this little tree grove. My problems melt away and I just feel the moment. This round was harder than I thought it was going to be. The physical pain and misery were manageable, it was my mind that I had to take care of. As I walked onto my porch to take off my shoes, the sun came through the clouds and shone right on the door to my house. In those few seconds, it was like the lens of my camera came into focus shifting from a fog and I knew everything was going to be just fine. Exhale. Love, Ang

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And it all comes back to me....

chemo sucks. And now, it is compromising the continued healing of my tail end if you know what I mean. Monday and Tuesday were fine and, thus far, Wednesday stinks, but you all know that, so on to other things. On Monday, when I met with the oncologist before treatment, I clarified what the goal of the next four to six treatments was. Since my pelvis is clean (how could it not be especially after radiation!), my assumption was that we were now seeing how far the chemo can help my lungs. I was correct and here is the plan. After the chemo is completed (or my body can't do it anymore), we will do another PET scan to see if the masses in my lungs remain. Then, based on what they know then, they will decide to 1) let it ride and see what happens with regular monitoring; 2) surgically remove the remains of the masses if there are still cancer cells; or 3) surgically remove the masses even if the masses don't show cancer on the PET scan and biopsy them to see if cancer is still present. Then, with any luck, we will take the break I was promised. He told me that typically people with this advanced stage of cancer will have it come back and then we will treat it again; however, there are those people that "hit a home run" and the cancer does not return. He continued to say that every oncologist has those "hit a home run" patients, but (obviously) he can not say that I will be one of them, but he did say that typically the home run patients are ones that have had a fabulous response to initial treatments like myself. So, after I decided what role in politics my oncologist should go into due to his mastery of saying everything and yet saying nothing, I decided that I would like to order the "home run" patient from them menu. Unfortunately, I then asked him exactly how long would it take my bum to completely heal from radiation. He said, "It can take two to four months." FABULOUS. Just to give you an idea it has taken me 45 minutes to write this, I have sat down, stood up, moved around a lot, just got out of the bath tub, will now be returning to the bath times. Hopefully, I will be better by tomorrow when my precious boys come home. Mason is starting big boy swim lessons tonight. These will be the first ones without my Dad or me in the pool with him. My Dad is taking him since I will be getting unhooked from my cancer wand then. I have learned to accept that I am not going to be at all the first things for Mason and especially Nolan, but I am sure lucky that I have my parents and so many friends that will and relish them with my boys. They are two pretty lucky kids. It is so hard to let go sometimes, but you learn to, and you learn that they will be alright without you. Mason has gotten really good at telling me about all of his adventures. It is really sweet how he tells me his stories about his friends, falling down, hurting himself, playing trains, etc. I love those moments - I feel like I am there with him, I kiss his boo boos, and that is all I need. Here is to tomorrow, Ang

Monday, January 7, 2008

Vacation is over.

The boys are packed, my bag is ready, and I have my list of questions for the doc in hand. I can't complain. I had two plus weeks with my boys - the longest that I have had since June 11th. I ate amazing food - went to dinner with my family, had a REAL date with my husband, and ate ice cream EVERY DAY. Can't complain. The best way to explain how I feel right now is that I am returning from vacation to a job that I can't stand, but where I really like all the people. I have actually missed everyone (except one nurse, but she works for another oncologist so I don't have to deal with her) from the Arnold Pavilion. I am looking forward to seeing them. I am just not looking forward to the next few days. The good news - time always passes. It will be over soon and I get to go back to MY life until the next time. But that will be over too, and soon enough I will be in Kauai with many of my friends and family enjoying those moments. Better go...have to eat ice cream before I leave for chemo! Happy, Ang

Friday, January 4, 2008

Just when you think....

everything is going okay, I am going to be fine, and nothing can stop my positive outlook, I discover while getting my chemo bag ready for Monday that Mason somehow volume control locked my ipod with a combination that I don't know. So, I calmly go to the online manual and discover that it isn't so easy to fix. Seriously, it is an ipod not a FREAKIN' financial institution. It locks so well that you have to restore the entire software and lose all my songs (because my girlfriend who set it up for me is the "primary computer" yada yada yada). National security is not so well protected. So, I started to cry - sob actually. Nolan was down for a nap and Mason is at daycare so I could have a breakdown I guess. All I could think was, I can't go to chemo without this and I need to be able to BLAST IT IN MY EARS to drown out anything I need to drown out. I guess my attitude is a bit more sensitive than I thought as I approach the end of my cancer vacation. Six treatments to go and then they say I am done until it comes back.....IF it comes back. So, I emailed my girlfriend and threw my old CD player in my bag - that will do for Monday. A combination lock on volume have GOT to be kidding me.........not thinkin' Apple thought that one through. Nolan should be up soon and make me smile. That will do for me. Have a good weekend and if anyone knows how to break into an ipod let me know! Love, Ang

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year!

So, the last week has been filled with joy, fun, great food, family and friends. Yep, there has been a little pain, but the good news is that I chose to have it rather than having is put on me. All in all, I have loved my break. I don't think I really knew how much I needed it until I got it. I am healing up well. I could have gone faster I suppose, but I wanted to eat certain things that were not "the best" in my situation. It was Christmas and it isn't Christmas if you don't eat the crusted herbs from the prime rib off the cutting board, y'know?! Mason had an amazing Christmas and one of my New Year's Resolutions is to actually make a movie of Christmas morning and put it on the blog. Mason unwrapped EVERYONE's gifts and Nolan played with all the boxes. It was great fun, but the absolute best was the the ride on car that Santa got Mason (because his parents would have never gotten such a thing!). It was so big that we kept it in the garage (after assembling it and storing at Leslie's for a month!). We discovered it because we got a call from Santa to tell us that we forgot a gift in the garage. Mason was amazingly good at driving it and gets better everyday. Nolan is a happy passenger and plays with the radio. What was even better was that on Christmas morning we were out riding and a lot of the neighbors came out to see. Mason loved the attention and showing off his "car" to everyone. Since then he has only run into the curb once, the Focus once, and almost hit my girlfriend's new convertible BMW, but I flung my body in front of him so he hit my legs instead. I am a little bruised as I bruise so easily now, but it was worth it! Can you imagine?!?!?!?!? So, a lot has happened - 90% of it good, 10% slow healing. One final note before I go get my baby started for the my defense, if you received a Christmas card from me this year, yes, it was handmade and stamped, but you should know that they were done in February before Nolan was born. I figured it was going to be a busy year......little did I know HOW BUSY.....and, yes, that makes me a whole new kind of freak to some of you, but you didn't have my Dad as a Dad, so it is not my fault!!!! Off to plan next year's card....just kidding!!!!! Happy Wednesday - Love Ang