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