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???.......you 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, "Okay.....it 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