Saturday, January 31, 2009

Well, that was fun....

Yesterday, while feeling particularly awful during this round, I started getting weird visual disturbances in my eyes. That went away, so I blew it off thinking I needed to eat. So, I went into the kitchen and almost fell to the floor. I realized that I could feel my leg. The sensation was quickly going up my body on the right side. I got to a phone and called Grant. I wasn't making sense and he called my oncologist. The nurse from the oncologist called me, talked to me for a minute and said, "Ang, hang up the phone and call 911. NOW." I wasn't really processing, so I hung up and thought, it will just pass. I wasn't going to call and then Africa appeared, knocked me in the head three times HARD, and pushed the phone toward me. Didn't I just post about that cat? I looked at her and she stared right back. I called and she was gone. I wasn't really explaining myself properly on the phone and could not get the words out. Finally, I got out that I was alone and the 911 guy said, "Angela, we are coming. Hold tight." I hung up the phone and they were here. The phone was ringing, they were saying things like, "...the chemo drugs she is on can cause stoke....what is her oxygen level...can you smile and me (is he kidding???)" All the sudden my Mom was there, Grant was on the way to the hospital, I was in my PJ's in the back of an ambulance, and I realized that the first thing you should do is brush your teeth in the morning just in case you have a stroke and can't do it before firemen show up. At least my PJ's matched, but I had on not so okay underwear. Let that be a lesson to you! By the time, I got to the hospital, I was known as my oncologist's favorite patient, I got a private room, they had all my information, and they were ready to do blood work, EKG, and MRI. I certainly appreciate the system. The blood work and EKG went fast and were normal. The MRI however took six hours to get into. They were a bit backed up. The good news is that I had a private room and, if you wait, that means you are probably okay. The MRI was awful. I hadn't eaten in 10 hours, not that I wasn't offered food, I was just not hungry and kept thinking, "Great, now it is in my brain." Funny when you JUST want to have Stage Four Rectal Cancer. Grant had gone home to get the kids and Mom stayed with me. My oncologist came into the room at 7:30pm (I got there at 12:30). He said with a smile, "You are fine. It was a migraine. Why have you been here all day?" And, then, I cried. I cried from relief, for feeling stupid, for hunger, for missing my boys before they went to bed, for not showering, for dirty teeth, but most of all because I was really happy I could go home and just had cancer on my plate. There is a day I choose not to repeat, but in the end it was fine and I came home to my shower, tooth brush, and instant breakfast, but those are just comforts. More importantly, I came home to my husband and two precious, very asleep, boys. Whew. Love, Ang

Monday, January 26, 2009

Little questions...

Well, last week is becoming a distant memory except for three things. First, this was the first time I have been away from home this long since Kauai. It was been a good experience. My parents and I learned how to work as a team with the two kids. It has been pretty nice actually. There is always someone around to help or watch or assist. I now see why generations live together. Don't worry Grant. I still want to come home today and I will be alone. ;) It was also nice to have a vacation from my life. No mail, no bills. But vacations come to an end and today I go home to my completed kitchen which is pretty cool. Second, another cancer buddy of mine has passed away. I found out on Tuesday of last week. He put up a good fight, but in the last little while it was a one way ticket. When I cried, it wasn't for him. He is free. (Maybe it is only a cancer patient that can say that, but sometimes, just sometimes, that is pretty darn appealing.) I cried for his wife and kids. It is for their future without their Dad and why in the world did this happen to them. Mason must have overheard me on some level becuase the next morning he crawled into bed with me and asked if I was still sick. I explained that I had two things - a sinus infection and cancer. I went into enough detail, but tried to keep it simple. He then looked at my face and asked, "Are you going to die?" I have been waiting for this question and I calmly replied, "I don't want to, but maybe." He wrapped his arms around me and said, "I don't want you to die either." I smiled and said, "Well, sometimes we don't have a choice. I am here now and we need to take advantage of that." I try not to answer this with, "I am fighting hard, or I will beat it, etc." I do this because I never want them to not think I didn't fight hard enough, or try hard enough. I am beginning to know several people that have fought or tried hard and didn't win. Sometimes, it is not about how hard is just about being your time. I am trying to have faith in that and it is calming to "leave it up to the stars" (or palm apparently). As for the rest of the week, it was nice to sleep in the same room as Mason. It was comforting to hear him breathe, to hear him roll over, throw off his covers, and snore. I hope my answer to him was comforting to him. Say a little prayer for A. and her two girls. They have a lot to adjust to. Chemo tomorrow - scan next Monday, Ang

Friday, January 23, 2009

Even train wreck come to an end..

Well, it looks like we are all on the mend. I am up and around without two naps. I even feel like putting dinner together. Mason is FINE. Nolan is still a little off, but he will be fine. (He and I still have the a touch of the same problem, but at least HE wears a diaper.) Mom is up more and more and my Dad seems to have gotten out of this. Grant is back to work. So, things must be back to normal because I am sorting through toys at my parents, tossing old broken ones, and starting to ask my Mom why she has salt in four places. She told me I could go home anytime. In a few spare moments, I also educated myself in palm reading and if I read it right apparently I am going to live a long time. It is long and strong with one very distinct circle which supposedly indicates some major threat my life. Cancer, ya think????? Apparently my career/fate line says that I will successfully change careers. CRAP. I was kinda hoping after this mom/cancer survivor/wife thing, I would be sipping Mai Tai and calling it good. I guess you can't argue with the palm, or you can but that may look questionable to some. Happy weekend - love, Ang

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The train wreck continues....

Monday I was in bed all day with the cold the just wouldn't seem to end. Tuesday I packed us down to my parents. Mason went to Preschool. Nolan didn't because of diarrhea. I watched the inauguration all day and during lunch I realized my upper molars were killing me. Sinus Infection. So, because the last time I called my oncologist for this the one kinda mean nurse said, "You really need to go to your primary for that, but if they can't see you soon, we can do it for you.". So, I called my primary, went in, got an Rx, called my oncologist to advise, and the nice nurse said, "We could have done that over the phone for you." Of course, YOU would. I guess I will have to find the real story from my oncologist on Tuesday. Nolan was on the mend, Mason was fine, and Grant was to join us at my parents and bring dinner until he started puking. Wednesday I was in bed, at my parents, again all day long with the sinus infection, Grant is at our house with the construction guys puking and going to the bathroom "with urgency", and then at 6pm my Mom said, "I don't feel so good." I muster enough energy to bathe and put the kids to bed with my Dad's help, Mom goes to bed, I go to bed. Nolan we thought was getting better and then we had to wash all his clothes twice. I get up at 1:30 to Mason puking on the floor. I hear Mom puking in her bathroom. I clean up all of Mason's puke, do laundry, get a bowl, put Mason back to bed, wake up again to Mason puking in the bowl at 3:00am, clean that up, go back to sleep and finally wake up to Mason smiling at me, eating popcorn from last night and saying, "Can I get up? I feel great!" R-E-A-L-L-Y. Luckily, I feel better. I am weak but I can at least move my head without pain and my teeth at almost normal. Grant appears on the mend and is going to leave supplies today on the porch without coming in just in case. Mom is in bed and the only one that hasn't got it yet is Dad. Time will tell. I guess as long as one of us is standing we will be okay, but I would really like to shower today. I look like hell. I think Grant summed it up best as we are spilt between two houses, have no kitchen (but apparently it is coming along nicely), and everyone being sick, with, "This sucks." I guess you could say that this was all a bad idea, which it probably was, and cancer won this battle, but I try and remember that the war between rock and water is always won by water not through strength, but through perseverance. Stay healthy, Ang

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grandma's 90th Birthday

Today was my Grandma's 90th Birthday Party. We had a small gathering in the back room of one of her favorite restaurants in Des Moines. She just wanted a small party with friends from Olympia and family. Since she needs nothing, I made her a card, brought carrot cake, and bought her a fabulous tiara. Everyone who turns 90th needs a tiara! The event was going very nicely until......well, if there is one weakness of my husband's it is if something goes wrong with his boys.....Nolan vomited. I was outside having a cough attack from the tail end of a head cold while my youngest was puking everywhere. The waiter told me later that he put some sailors to shame. When I came back in, Grant was wiping off everything and changing Nolan. I helped and told Grant to take him home. I could tell that Grant was already GONE mentally. You see, if one of his boys is sick, it is like his brain shuts off and panic that the sky will fail in the next two minutes sets in. All logic goes away. Up is down and down is up. He took my car keys and left. Remember that part - he took my car keys and left. Ten minutes later he returned asking if my Dad had jumper cables. He did not. I told him about the jump machine I had in the truck. "I tried it. I didn't work." Yep, here we go - full panic. I went out and tried the truck. The keys were in it and I tried it. It just wouldn't turn over. I said "I think it is flooded and we just need to wait." PANIC. PANIC. PANIC. A nice gentleman was next to our car and helping with the same questions. We determined that it was not the battery and that it was just probably flooded. I went back into the restaurant. Then, my Dad started quizzing me. He was not satisfied with my answer, so he went out to look at it. Ten mins later, he returns. "It is your fuel pump or starter." I am thinking, "Nope and nope." Some others at the gathering asked what it could be. I was starting to get annoyed with all this and said, "My husband. I love him, but he is a bit of a wreck when one of his boys is off." I went back out and tried one more time to figure this out. When, all did not make sense, I said, clearly this is something, but I can't put my finger on it. I don't think it is the battery, starter, or fuel pump. It has gas. We are not a hill. This just doesn't make sense, so I asked Grant to call AAA and I would figure out how to get the boys home. I returned to the restaurant and start gathering up our things and asked Mom if we can hitch a ride with her. While her and Dad start arguing about who is taking what car and why, Grant returns to say, "It started." and bolts for the door. I am thinking, I could have gone home with you now, but he was gone. My parents finally stop and I said, "Grant left." Dumbfounded, I explained that while they were "discussing" their stuff Grant started the car and left. Exhale. I ask Peggy to take Grandma home for us because now the car seat/car combo doesn't work, and, she very nicely says yes. I gathered up all our stuff and went out to my Mom's car only to have the waiter run after us with Mason's sippy cup. He said, "You're a bit of a mess, aren't you guys?!?!?!?" Remember this is the man that cleaned up Nolan's puke. I replied with, "I prefer train wreck. Yep, TRAIN WRECK." We got in the car and I just wanted to be quiet. It was hard to process all that had happened. It wasn't a disaster, but everyone was running around like it was. A kid puked. Granted this was really Nolan first PUKE, but kids puke. And what was wrong with my car?!?!?! Surely, it was just flooded. So, we get home and I start to relax from the chaos. I see that Nolan had puked again on the way home. Now, I was concerned. Maybe this is the flu. I started to talk to Grant about how we were such a train wreck at the restaurant and how we could do better the next time someone pukes. I always get overly concerned when he when he is like this because I think, "Dude, what is going to happen if I die? Are you going to be able to handle this?" I know - it is crazy, but I go there. So, as we were finishing up the conversation, I said, "So, when the car started, it just started or what?" He said sheepishly, "Well, I know why the car didn't start." I looked at him pointedly with a "well spill it will ya" look and he said...and I quote....."I had the Focus keys in the Explorer." And there is was that moment in a marriage when words just don't work...when looks go between disbelief, hilarity, and furry...when you just look at each other and think........."FABULOUS." The moral? We don't have one yet but we are going to come up with one, but my question is, "Why the heck do Focus keys fit in an Explorer?" Happy Birthday Grandma! Love, Ang

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mother's Love

So, my boys came home last night after day care and they were a mess. They were tired, hungry, and had chapped cheeks and lips. So, we feed them, bathed them, slathered them with Aquaphor and let them watch "Tinkerbell The Movie". They went to bed early with little argument. This morning we were up too early, but they had a great time building a Diego Resuce Submarine on top of me in bed. During lunch, Nolan "finished" first and, of course, wanted a piece of candy for doing a good job. Since he never does a good job, I said, "One more bite of apple and two bites of sandwich." The apple went down, but the bites of sandwich he shoved in his mouth and proceeded to gag. So, as Mother's do, I put my hand out and he spit some back into my hand. Luckily, it was too chewed up. Charming. He then looks up at me, smiles, and says, "Canny!" I shook my head and said, "You have to eat two bites of sandwich for candy." Now, if this had been Mason, I would have already thrown the half chewed sandwich out and he would have had to take a fresh bite, but now with the second child and cancer perspective, my hand was still there with the half chewed sandwich and, without missing a beat, Nolan leaned over inhaled the half chewed sandwich, chewed it completely, smiled and said, "CANNY!" A Mother's love......happy Saturday, Ang

Friday, January 16, 2009


Africa is my cat. Many of you already know that. Now, some people, especially dog lovers, will say that cats aren't the same as dogs and I would agree, but Africa is a pretty special kitty. Grant and I got her 13 years ago with her sister Kokanee. They were little kittens and so cute. Then added a life to very empty new house and we treated them like royalty. They were comfortable in our life. Africa was always my kitty and Kokanee always Grants. Africa would whine at our bedroom door in the morning demanding to be let in after a long night of separation. She would crawl under the covers and push Grant and I away from each other making room for her and only her - Kokanne was not invited. When she turned eight, Mason was born. Unlike her sister, she accepted him as part of the family. Kokanee would just look at us like, "When is he going HOME!" There were parts she liked and parts she didn't. Bedroom doors were never closed anymore which meant she got to sleep with us, but "HE" was always there. Shortly after Mason was born, Grant had to go out of town. She would wake up to Mason crying, and realizing that I was sleep deprived, she would rub her head in my face to wake me up to feed him. Shortly after that, Nolan came and she again adjusted. Then cancer. When the cancer came, she shifted more dramatically. I didn't even notice it until much later. It was like she knew what to do and that I, her best friend, was in trouble. When I am in treatment and it is just her and I in the house, she follows me around. To the couch, to the bed, to the kitchen. I am never out of her sight. She knows the drill and takes care of me. I love her for that. She is my companion. She never complains while I am in treatment and sometimes when I hurt too much to move we will slide beside me with her beautifully soft fur and take the edge off so that I can sleep. I especially love it when she lays against my back, still, and constant. So, people that say that cats aren't as good as dog may be right, but no one can say that Africa hasn't been some of the best medicine for me. Right here. Happy Weekend, Ang

Monday, January 12, 2009

I am doing well....

I have actually been having fun, enjoying my kids (when they listen to MY words), and trying not to think about chemo. I am off again for my cocktail tomorrow, BUT I get to go scrapbooking tonight with my girlfriends - some of the best people I know. I actually am doing better mentally now that the holidays are over and that we made good holiday memories WITH PICTURES (minus New Years, but who celebrates that with a 1 and 4 year old?!?!?!). I am kinda in the groove of it all now which is an odd way to put it, but I really don't know a good way to put it - it is chemo?!?!?! The thing that is different right now that we are doing work on our kitchen. History - Grant and I started "updating" our kitchen last March when I went into remission. I guess it is a cross between an update and a remodel. We got the new counter tops, appliances, sink and new bathroom vanity, but there was a snarl in the floor that ate up three months and then I was in treatment again. As fate would have it, we met a contractor in August that did a loft in a neighbor's home that was amazing and we had made an appointment to speak with him. After meeting with him, we WAY underestimated how much with would cost, so the plans on a loft were postponed. Here is the funny part....I made a crack about not finishing the kitchen and the debacle with the flooring which brought our do-it-yourself project to a halt. He asked more about it and said, "Why do I finish this up for you and then you can see my work, and have more time to think about the loft." Apparently, that ask and you shall receive thing works...sometimes even if you didn't ask. So, we have been talking, he solved the floor problem, we picked paint, etc. etc. We were trying to wait until chemo was over since the boys and I would be out of the house, but that, as you know, has been extended, so we decided that we were going for it anyway on a good week. The contractor has been wonderful with my schedule, helpful with everything, and basically told me, "You call me and I will take care of it, that is my job. You've got other things to worry about." And he has. That do-it-yourself thing is losing attractiveness more and more. So, by the end of January, even though it will be chaotic and mind blowing, I may just been done with chemo AND have my kitchen FINALLY finished. The good part is I am like, "We will get through it. Day by day - no further - just day by day." I would have NEVER allowed that chaos before and now I am like, "Yeah, whatever. I get a new kitchen, I get a new kitchen!!" Love, Ang

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Weekend through Monday

Saturday I had bookclub at my house and I felt great. I even baked something for it which I screwed up by using organic sugar. So, get Mom calls and asks me how bookclub went and I say, "You know that recipe you gave me? Well, the sugar was weird." That is all I said - "sugar weird" - and she replies, "Did you use organic sugar? I am sure you did. Here is what you have to process it a bit, so put it in the food processor to break it down a like more so that I dissolves better." Pause. Pause again. HOW THE FRICK DOES SHE DO THAT?!?!?!?!?! Good thing I have boys because I will never be able to do that. Oh well, I can try again next month. I have bookclub next month too because these amazing women offered to come to my house so that I don't have to drive. They have been doing this the entire time. One comes from Bothell. No complaints. Have I explained how lucky I am???? So, after bookclub and napping with the boys, some friends of ours invited us to the opening game for the Seattle Thunderbirds in the new Kent Arena. We were center ice 12 rows up. The seats were AMAZING. This was the first time is ages I went out at night, like with tickets AND my husband. This wasn't dinner at a friends house or a candle party. It was a public place with tickets. It was like a real date. My neighbor watched the boys and, after Grant talked me through my panic attack thinking about lining up for the bathroom and "What if I have an accident???", we went. At the game, Grant and I realized we have never been to a hockey game together. I have been to his hockey games which I quickly stopped going to because he is chippy and all I could think about is him hurting himself. I have gotten suite tickets for him and his friends because a friend of mine had company suite tickets, but we have never been to a game together. Funny part about that is, despite what the you may know about me, I have been to plenty of games, but we won't go into that today or really ever. So, we watched the game, and he made comments, I made comments and he said, "I have been watching that guy you mentioned and you are right...." Thinking, "I am? Maybe I did actually pay attention all those years ago or maybe being married to a Canadian and watching hockey night in Canada sinks into your pores." In any case, we had a really good time - together - on a date that wasn't in the middle of the day or sandwiched between doctors appointments. I had a date and fell in love with my husband all over again. Oh, also, our seats where in the "suite" section, so I had a padded seat, extra heat, AND a private bathroom. What more could a rectal cancer, temperature sensitive, girl ask for? I am totally going back to that section!!!! Mason and Grant went back the next night for the 5:00 game and had a lot of fun. Mason, of course, liked the hot dog and intermission activities best, but he is four. Sunday I felt like a truck hit me, but in the end I had a good day and then last night I had dinner with old friends. We have met every year for 10 years during the holidays. (This one was postponed due to weather and my chemo schedule.) I have only missed one - last year because of radiation. On the way to dinner, I was so happy to be seeing them that I started to cry. I tried not to, but the tears just rolled down. Last year, when I wasn't able to go, I thought, what if I never go again? But, you see, I did - last night, and we laughed so hard that my sides hurt. I LOVE THOSE DINNERS. I LOVE LAUGHING SO HARD IT HURTS. Maybe that was my Christmas miracle. What a lucky girl I am. Love, Ang