Monday, March 26, 2012

Doing Well

Hello...well, dare I say that went well?!?!?!  Elaine (my driver) seems to think it was the best one I have ever done and made me promise to tell my Mom.  I was thinking, "Otey, I will taaa to rememba..."  I did.  I had a pretty good attitude about it.  Unfortunately/fortunately, I am kinda becoming a pro.  My biggest challenge is my nerves.  Anxiety over what might, will, will not, or maybe, happen is  bitch, but the picture of Mason skiing was very powerful for me.  I believe it carried me through.  Steroids are keeping me up at night which I have to work on, but I think I will be okay.  Also, thank you, I got all the messages, emails, post, etc.  They mean a lot.  I may not return them, but I get them and they make a difference.  Thank you.  Food has started up and the house is full of food.  The kids love it - pies and cookie galore!  I even went to my bookclub meeting last night and had a great time.  I was tired, but the traffic was light, it was a beautiful evening and Jill put my dinner for tonight in the car....what more could a girl ask for?  Forever grateful, Ang

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Yesterday we went well...

It was nice to laugh and see everyone again. Only once did we have to stop, but it got better. I walked out on my own. I got home, slept on and off. Email we're coming in, messages on the phone...those will have to wait...but I did check my blog and a cancer survivor friend blogger whatever! blogged about me....I howled! Check it out!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Life as the Pencil Sharpener and Skiing

In life there are the people who make art and the people that do not.  I do not.  I am the pencil sharpener.  I was sitting at the kitchen table today after breakfast and I asked Mason to bring the art basket to me.  I then get the pencil basket off the kitchen counter.  I proceeded to sharpen all the pencils, organize erasers, toss old or broken crayons, re balance quantities, etc.  I then went upstairs to email off the last of the tax reports for Heather and her accountant/bookkeeper.  Everything is getting done and tied up nicely.  I remember Marlene saying to me when I had first found out...."I am happy for you that you have this time to get ready and prepare.  That is good for you."  That is because I am the pencil sharpener.  Please don't misunderstand - I am perfectly fine with my role.  It started a long time ago.  I remember in my house growing up we had TONS, if not millions, of pencils and pens, but none of them worked.  I was always perplexed by this.  What I learned was my parents did stuff.  I organized stuff.  It was the same way at school.  I remember on several occasions my teachers telling me to draw a picture, not sort crayons from pencils and sharpen them all for everyone else.  I would then scribble something down and go back to organizing.  I would usually get the head tilt and, "You know Angie, you are quite talented when you apply yourself."  I remember thinking, "I am applying myself.  Do you see this mess?!?!"  I did it at Nordstrom Cafe and the Espresso Bar.  Tom called my the "Space (not outer) Engineer".  Now, I have made a work for myself organizing others.  Heather, my Mom, Shannan, my friends, etc.  Not such a bad thing to apply yourself at - life is messy!  Couple more phone calls and an oil change and I am good to go for Monday!  Now, for the Ski Trip.

Wow, what a great time.  It was so good to go and I am really impressed with my performance.  I haven't done cardio in like FOREVER and I was able to ski and move around pretty well.  There was one time an old guy got me up from a spill in the trees, but that has always happened!  The best part was seeing Mason ski.  OMG.  I had NO idea.  We have sent him to lessons for two years.  Five lesson each year on Friday night.  Grant takes him and goes to the lodge to finish up work and, of course, have his favorite beer on tap.  I couldn't go one year because of the temperature sensitivity in treatment and then this year I was home with Nolan.  The first day skiing he did his lesson in the morning and then skied with me in the afternoon.  We were by ourselves.  He was like, "Mom let's go in the trees and do jumps!"  I was thinking, "Yeah, where is the old guy to help me?!?!?!"  I stayed on the blue runs and Mason went in and out of the trees.  Here are some snipettes (sp) of me talking to him...."No Mason that is the park boundary stay closer to the run..."  "Mason, you are going to ski with your father tomorrow afternoon and, just so you know, Dad will FREAK OUT if you are in the trees that long so talk a lot or something."  "Mason great job!  I had no idea!"  "Keep your speed up so that we can make it to the lift.  Okay, well I am going to make it to the lift.  Meet you there, okay?"  (He is seven.)  "Mason, I am so proud of you."  When I was watching him, I almost started to cry.  I never have wanted to cancer to hold them back and, in this case, it didn't.  All I could think was, "Grant, we did it.  I am so proud of us."  Very close second was seeing Nolan ski.  Last time we were there, it was a nightmare.  My advice no matter what you think and how good you are have someone else teach your child to ski.  Nolan almost completed two levels in three days, so one more lesson in Eager Elephants and he can move up.  And why do you ask did he not complete Eager Elephants?  Well, that is because "he didn't turn enough and follow the line of children".  The teacher said "he needed to work on following directions and listening".  While I would normally agree (it is Nolan we are talking about), after listening to her, I was quite convinced he listened, he just didn't follow. Screw Eager Elephants - BRAVO NOLAN! And then finally, being with friends that I have known for about 20 years, seeing all there kids, pizza competitions - BRAVO Colin and Anne Marie, and just hanging out.  When I hugged them good-bye, I couldn't say much until Robin (Grant's Best Friend) told me to "have fun".  I called him a jackass which is normal and I needed a little normal.  The drive home was long (8 and a half hours).  Mason puked from being car sick.  Bought medicine in Rock Creek.  Ate is Osoyoos, crossed the boarder with Nolan grilling the board patrol on why he needs a passport.  I AM NOT KIDDING.  Stopped twice for gas, one snack, and checked the pass reports because I-90 was getting 6 -8 inches of snow and chains were required on all vehicles except all wheel drive.  We went Stevens.  I drove all the way because Grant's eye flipped out again and I was exhausted when we got home, but you know, I would do it all again - in a heartbeat.  Chemo is Monday - prayers welcome, Ang

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Five Phases of Whatever you got...

So, I have been motoring along.  Pantry full - check.  All whole pieces of frozen meat cooked and put into meals - check.  Easy meals - check.  When in doubt marinate a flank steak - check.  Ensure - check.  Cetaphil everything because I will lose the lining in my nose and won't be able to tolerate strong smells.  Do my six months Target and Old Navy run because I won't go anywhere but Fred Meyer every week, Costco every three months and Amazon Prime.  Order HuluPlus?  Maybe.  Maybe Netflix again?  Not sure.  I can surely make Grant go to Redbox - it is only $1.  Donations donated.  Metals recycled.  Library books returned.  Help calendar filling up.  Drivers scheduled.  This morning Grant had our appointment with our CPA.  He and his wife follow my blog and he opened with, "I don't want your to trip in your heels!"  Funny thing I was wearing them!  He was like, "Why do you need heels?"  I am 5'9" and, as one of my shorter friends mentioned to me in an email, those heels made me 7'2".  I don't think she is very good at math.  Taxes done.  Finishing up Heather's - meeting with her next Friday.  Messages received on email, voice mail, cards, etc. about how much grace I have, strength I have, and I appreciate them, but I must confess something......a long long time ago, I met a friend at work.  Now, I didn't know how much of a friend she was to me then (and is now), but I remember our first disagreement that was bigger than just a tiff.  I remember going into her office and saying, "Look, I am really really sorry.  You know that right?  Okay, so I take all the blame.  I was a butt so do you mind if we just skip over the whole phases things and get back to where we were cause I don't have time for all that."  BTW - that is the WRONG answer when you are dealing with a Master's Level Psychologist.  But, because she is a better person than I, she got quickly past the stage of closing her eyes and shaking her head and said, "Angela, nothing really works that way.  You do know that right?"  Nope, I didn't.  I didn't when I got cancer and she explained it to me again.  She made me get my "spot" which some of you probably remember and she drove to my house to make sure I did it.  Nope, still didn't get it but I knew better as to not do as I was told.  And then Wednesday of this week, I FINALLY got it.  I woke up and I was a mess.  I took anxiety meds.  Nothing.  I talked to my Mom.  A little better.  I went along with my day.  I vomited from nerves.  More anxiety meds.  I walked to school to get the kids thinking that would help.  By the time I got home, all I could do was get snack, change into my pjs and go to bed.  The kids were great.  They brought me the phone, brought me homework to review, said it was okay after I apologized, everything a nice person would do.  (Somebody is raisin' them right!) Mia (the little girl I take care of after school) got picked up, Grant was home, and I called Karissa.  Wow, I am buzz kill.  I sobbed to her that I didn't want to go.  She said, "I know, but you will cause you have to."  "I know."  She continued with, "I would do it for you, y'know.  I think a lot of people would."  "I wouldn't let you.  You have no idea."  "I know, but I would and so would tons of others.  It isn't fair and you have had enough."  We were like the frinkin' chipmunks, "After you."  "No, after you."  And I cried, and we talked, and I accepted the phase.  I then slept for 11 hours.  Thursday I was fine.  I hope that I am at least efficient at the phases.  Not an anxiety pill since.  Grandma's haircut.  Check.  Laundry?  Check.  Ordering Nolan's ski helmet.  Check.  Strength?  Grace?  I am afraid not.  Heck, I just accepted the phases!  Happy Friday, Ang

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ways to help....

Here it is...the post where I am humbled down to my core.  I have spent the last week cooking and loading up my freezer.  It is STUFFED and while I would like to believe that I can do this all myself, my experience is that I cannot.  My temperature sensitivity, adversity to food, and my fatigue will get the best of me.  I can't possibly deal with all of it and feed my family all the time.  I have also spent the last week, informing people, seeing if my trained volunteers have the time (and courage) to do what they have done before.  My parents will take the boys, my aunt will fill in, possibly a sleepover in the summer at Karissa's.  Elaine and Karissa will fearlessly drive me to treatment and de access.  These are not easy jobs.  My parents are their parents for four days every other week.  Elaine is my friend until I reach out and she holds my hand through the tough parts and Karissa always has a barf bag on hand on my worst days.  These are to jobs for the weary.  I have three teams of cleaners that rotate months.  They are all trained.  They know where everything is, and I realized when I am out of treatment they bring replacement items.  They all signed up again for this bad sitcom that just won't stop running.  I wish I could equate it to M*A*S*H - sad topic, brutally funny, pretty dysfunctional, and one of my favorite shows of all time.  I can't say the Angie Show is my favorite.  So, now, I humble myself again and ask for prepared meals during this time.  Again, while I would love to think that I could do it all - I can't.  My family has come to enjoy food and the visits as life very much slows down for us.  Thank you, in advance, for anything you can do.  

What I am looking for is:

Meals two times a week.  I find that my frig can handle that and between what is left of other meals, I can fill in the rest.  My freezer is for the off occasion that we need a meal or my family yearns for my food.  The days Mondays, Wednesday one week and Thursday Saturday on the next.  Many people who have Mondays deliver on Sunday.  I am flexible - I am getting free food for goodness sake!  If you would like to help with this, please contact Sarah Szczepanski at or 253-520-0373.  (Yes, Laura and Sherry, you are already on the list!)

Meals for my freezer fund.  As my treatment period goes on, my freezer does deplete.  I usually fill it with Designed Dinners or something like that twice in a 9 month period (my average for chemo treatment).  Some people have also brought freezer meal for me also.  This is greatly appreciated.  If you would like to donate to that, please contact Sarah Szczepanski at or 253-520-0373.

Occasionally, I need a driver or babysitter.  If you would like to be on that list, let me Sarah know ( or 253-520-0373) and I will call you directly.  I don't usually need this so it would be a vacation coverage or something like that.  I am a VERY VERY LUCKY GIRL.

Okay, that is it.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.  No one truly knows how grateful I am until it  happens to them and I am NEVER want this to happen to them.

Love, Ang