Monday, February 23, 2009

Why is an eighty year old taking care of me?

Okay, so here is a story for you. During my vacation, I took my beloved Africa to the vet. For most of you that know me, Africa is a 100% indoor cat that gets taken for an annual exam every year. Most people think I am nut to get all her shots and an exam once a year, but I do it not because she wants me to but because I want her to live as long as possible in the best health as possible. I always went for an annual physical (lotta good that did me!), so I figured she should too. Back to the story....on Friday after my CT scan I scheduled several appointments. You know, things that have to be done whether you have cancer or not. I scheduled an eye exam, an oil change, and Africa's vet appointment. I knew it was a lot for one day, but I didn't have the kids and I thought, with a rest in between, I could do it. First was the eye appointment. I was trying to do this once treatment was over, but my glasses were so scratched I could wait any longer. Get this, my prescription has changed because I eyes got better. Let's see, my hair has to be thinned and my eye are getting better. I live in opposite world! I look at glasses, pick a pair, and the staff is so helpful that they get my old pair covered under warranty, so I will ultimately have two pair of glasses which, when you only wear glasses, is REALLY NICE. I come home and rest. I go to the oil change which always takes longer than you think it should. What are they doing?!?!?!?! And why does the paperwork take so long?!?!?!? I start the car and it acts weird. FABULOUS, but I don't have time because I have to go home and cram the cat in the cat box and take her to the vet. Africa is none to pleased with the trip to the vet. I guess she is a cat after all. When I get there, the lobby is PACKED. There is a line up to check in which I cannot stand in for that long, so I go to the only chair, put Africa underneath and sit. I sit and sit and sit. The line never gets shorter. The best part of all of this is that since my episode with the headache/stroke thing I have been having what I think are panic attacks. They seem to come on when I am outside of the house, usually with the kids but sometimes not, and usually when I am not in control of what is happening. So, I start focusing on my breathing trying to calm down thinking all the time, "I got to get the heck out of here!!!! What if it happens again here? I don't want to go in another ambulance. CRAP! CRAP! CRAP!" So, finally a conversation started in the lobby about who had checked in and who hadn't. I quietly said, "I haven't checked in and I can't stand for that long." I don't know how this woman knew, but with that, she was on it. I mean ON IT! She basically elbowed herself to the front, at the same time, they called for behind the desk, "Is Africa here?" I said, "That is me" and I was taken back for the appointment. The woman smiled at me and winked. Here is the rub. She was like eighty AT LEAST. I should have been taking care of her, but she bounded into action with a quiet comment that I couldn't stand up that long. Could she even hear what I said?!?!?!? All I could think is, does she know? How does she know? Did she have this happen to her when she was young? All the times that people have assumed that I was fine, cut in line, told me they were sick, or told me that I needed to make way because they were sicker than me, she didn't question, ask, probe, quiz......nothing. She simply took care of me. I don't even know her name, but she was in my prayers that night. Maybe she was my angel to help me - who knows, I am just glad that she was there because she made all the difference. My second blessing was the truck's engine light came on when I got home. "At home" is the blessing part and an easy fix the next week was even better. Happy Monday, Ang

Friday, February 20, 2009

No ER visit this time....

Well, I took much better care of myself this time. I even took the anti nausea meds to everyone's glee. My oncologist was like, "Well, it only took 27 treatments. Should I give you a new rx? I think those of expired, m'dear." They were. I got new ones. Okay, so before y'all say, "What??!?! You haven't been taking those????" Let me explain. Anti nausea meds can contribute to know the plight of my life??? So, I take them very cautiously. I did okay. I balanced it out well, kept food down, didn't have a migraine/stroke/etc. All in all - I rocked. I rocked so much in fact that I showered this morning, brushed my teeth, checked my underwear, and ate just in case I did have to go to the ER. I am not repeated those mistakes again. Dr. Pony Express (Dr. Mailman, my ER doc, I am not kidding) won't have anything on me! So besides me being ready for anything I also had the helicopter mom today. I am 39 and have a helicopter mom. She came by to drop the boys stuff off, then went to Ikea, called to check on me, stopped back by, is coming by tomorrow, and it keeps going. Nice to be loved, but she is a little obvious about it. I am sure I am the same way. I just haven't had anything that scary happen with the boys yet. So, all in all, things are good. So, here is a story...."Good Friends" When you are in chemo or I imagine anything crappy you tend to not focus on the little stuff like if you have the right email addresses, etc. and people don't want to say anything to you because they feel bad. FYI - TELL THEM. I was emailing my bookclub from two years ago until one of the current members was like, "Ang, you know, you might want to update your email list. It looks like it might be out of date by just a little. No biggy. Just thought you should know..." I was like, "Why the *(&#$)(*&#)($*&#)($*&(# didn't anyone tell me???" Here is another one - A girlfriend from preschool was talking to me about my train wreck of a January and said, "I hardly feel sorry for you - you got a new kitchen. We were all sick too and I didn't get one of those!" She was right. I did and it looks awesome!!!!! One more - Elaine is my driver on chemo and she is another true friend that told me I might want to zip it before I get to the cancer center. I was on a rant. I was moaning and complaining. Guess what it was about???? MY HAIR. Yeah, you need those friends. So, here is to good friends that keep you straight and love you all the way. More to come, Ang

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A nice vacation.

Well, my week off ended at 2:00 yesterday. I showed up to chemo exhausted and I was happy for it. It was a good tired. I jam packed it with lots of fun as well as odds and ends I have needed to do for a while. We had four days of Valentine's Day - one at the cancer center which is a great way for Mason to see and interact with all my docs, nurses, social workers, surgeons, etc.; one at preschool; one day at daycare; and one day at home. This, of course, lead right into Nolan's second birthday which was Monday, but we celebrated Sunday. We had the family party. Nothing big, just immediate family, pizza, cake and presents. It was fun and Nolan got that it was all about him which is not the most comfortable situation for him. He is used to and, I believe, very comfortable being the second child. I think he likes it because our attention is split and leads to a lot of time for him to do what he wants before I can "redirect" him otherwise. He is my sly child which I secretly love but I will never tell him that. During my vacation, I got to cook and drink very weak lemon drops. At least they looked good in the glass. I even was successful with ice cream which also made me realize that we need new ice cream. Apparently when you can't eat it, you completely disregard the need for others to eat it. It was really old. As the grand finale of my vacation, we went to the zoo on Monday - Nolan's true birthday. Tyrus, my brother in law is visiting to visit, ski, etc. He came with us and I was glad for it. The zoo was a zoo and I am not talking about the animals. It was great having three adults to the five children. Karissa and co went also. We had fun, but I will not be going back on a holiday any time soon. As for chemo, I am not happy about it, but I am not sick to my stomach about it either. I needed the week off. I apologized to Tyrus for being on chemo this week since I "could" have done it last week. He shrugged his shoulders and said, "You gotta live." Well put and in very typical Hainsworth economy of words style. There was another significant event on Friday night - a memorial. I am not ready to talk about yet though I only have good things to say. I will talk about it later because it deserves to by talked about. There are other stories too like, "Why is an eighty year old taking care of me?", "Good Friends", and "Did they steal my glasses?" but there is time for those later. Have a great Wednesday. Love, Ang

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Daddy's Driving Skills

For the last few weeks I have felt more taxed and more taxed from all of this. January was a train wreck. Between chemo, the flu, sinus infections, my "migraine", etc. etc. etc., I was a mess. I thought I would be done with chemo, but I knew in my heart I wasn't, which I had to face with the reality of my CT scan. It felt like little by little I was losing energy to all of this. I began to care less and less about everything. I felt like I was losing me. I don't know if I can explain it, but it felt like I was losing my energy, my passion for life, and it was being replaced by exhaustion and anxiety from my migraine of last week. Can I take care of my kids? What am I going to do? With the loss of another cancer buddy, I wonder why I am still here. I feel guilty. I feel thankful. I feel guilty about feeling thankful. And then, my friend that has been rubbing my feet with essential oils since I was diagnosed called me. We haven't been able to get together because of illness, me staying at my folks, and her audacity to go to Mexico for a week! She asked me if I could go over right then for a foot massage. I was out the door before I hung up. She rubbed my feet for an hour. We talked and laughed and talked some more. I felt so much better after it. I had energy. I came home and made/assembled a really good dinner, emptied the dishwasher, finished the laundry, had a very weak lemon drop, and finished watching private practice. THEN, after dinner, I went to Cost Plus and Pier One. I KNOW!!!! As I was driving there, I had the radio on the sunroof open and the heat blasting. The smell of the evening air was perfect. I had been indoors for too long. I was minding my own business until....... Now, I should remind you that I live in South King County. And, at 7:30, the youngins' are just startin' to go out for the night. And, the youngins' in South King have a tendency to street race no matter what car they have. So, a Ford F150 is coming up behind me and is looking for a race. I am in Grant's car so I look like I am 17 and have more horsepower than I really do. We really should have bought a Honda Accord. So, I get the invitation. Okay, I have NO MAKEUP on, I am dressed in sweats, I look like the typical tired Mom of two going to the grocery store for milk. I know I should just let this go.........screw it....I accept, shift down, and go. Now, see, I have never driven really powerful cars, but I won EVERY race I ever started not because of horsepower but because I didn't follow the rules. I have passed on the shoulder of highways, ran stop signs, pulled u turns, seen sparks fly from the bottom of my car from bottoming out, etc. etc. etc. Sarah can vouch for me - she was usually in the car. Most of my guy friends learned to not even tease me because they would lose. Also, there is no one that can quite slip a clutch like I can. Yes, he had more horsepower, but I had a manual transmission (which I was banking that he didn't have) and I CREAMED him. When it got the point of being out of control, I let him blow by me. The point is...I won off the line, through the turn, up the hill, and only let him pass me on the straight away. Doubling the speed limit is a felony you know. My Dad taught me to drive. He did donuts with me in the snow and squealed his tires in front of boys I liked in high school with his country music blaring. But more importantly, he taught me that it is more about knowing when to break the rules rather than following them all the time. I got a piece of me back in that race. Mature? No. Fun? HELL YEAH!!!! Love, Ang

Thursday, February 5, 2009

And at long last.....

a new picture! This was taken at Halloween during pumpkin carving with our friends Merv and June. Notice how GIGANTIC Nolan is! Enjoy, Ang

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


My CT scan shows that while the tiny spots are getting smaller they are not gone. Obviously, this is not the news I wanted and when he said, "We need to keep going." a little part of me died. I told him I was tired that I wanted different news. I clarified that this was good news and he said, "Yes! This is great news." Then, after a breath and a couple Kleenex (thank God for Bobbi Brown waterproof mascara), I said, "Why is this taking so long?" He went on to explain using words like resistant, slow to respond, blah blah blah. All I could think is we have been working on two/three spots for five months (10 treatments)that are the equivalent of 2mm, when I was "cured" last time in nine months (17 treatments and radiation) when I was riddled with cancer. It seems like we are beating a very big cow for a very little area. So, I said, "When do we look at cutting it out of me?" thinking at the same time, just give me a knife - I will do it. He said, "After more four treatments, we will do a PET/CT. We will present you again (tumor board), put all options on the table, and decide what to do with you. There is only so much I can beat you up with chemo." I know that my radiation oncologist wanted to radiate my lungs last December. There were a few lung surgeons that wanted me too. Nice to be popular. So, there it is. I keep going. However, I requested, and was granted, one week of vacation. I wanted next week because I wanted to go to all the ridiculous Valentine parties with my boys and I need to attend my friend's memorial. Little do they know, Mason, Nolan and I are going to the Cancer Center next week to deliver Valentine cards like we did last year. It is the only time the boys go to the Cancer Center and giving Valentines is a good way to get them to interact. When my appointment was over, all the nurses were standing outside my door. They hugged me and reminded me that it is going in the right direction. They also said, "We are going to keep going until it is gone. Promise." I felt like a spoiled brat, but I knew I needed to feel sorry for myself for a bit. Grant and I went to get a coffee and they he headed back to work. I sobbed on the way home, but by the time I got there I was ready to be me again. I had a boy to take to the dentist - he did great. I plotted my life in my calendar during the appointment, made a bunch of phone calls, scheduled appointments, etc. I am going to make the most of my vacation, try and feel productive, and enjoy food. During my appointment, my oncologist said, "I think you need to keep going....." I looked at him with a crazy look on my face, "Of course, I am going to keep going. Like I have choices??" I think he was relieved. I may be tired, but I am not done with this yet. I knew in my heart we weren't done...I can't explain why, I just knew so the news wasn't completely a surprise. I am okay...or I will be....too much to do while I feel good to sit around and mope (sp). Love, Ang