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 sarah_09@comcast.net 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 okay...love, 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 else....my 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 OMG....it was amazing..." and then she made me laugh and laugh and laugh.