Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things I learned in the last five days....

Now, y'all may believe that I talk a lot, and I do, but I really don't get much of an opportunity.  My life is very quiet - especially every other week.  So, last weekend, I went to soccer for both boys - cheered/yelled for the team, visited with my Aunt on Saturday - talking, went to dinner with a couple neighbors - talking, went sailing on Sunday - talking AND THEN I lost my voice.  Not a little, but completely.  I can't make a phone call, I can't talk, I can't visit, I can't read to my kids, NADA!  I have learned that I love the sound of my voice and that you use it more than you think.  I tried to go through a drive thru out of habit - BIG MISTAKE.  And, yes, Grant has been in a little bit of heaven and even he is like, "COME ON!"  Just started coming back - THANK GOD!  Happy Wednesday, Ang

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hi! Still here!

It has been a long time since I posted and I kinda apologize for that.  Things have been well, up in the air, busy, crazy, y'know.  As you know, I was not able to do chemo on the 4th.  I went back on the 11th - nope, no chemo.  My platelets were just not coming back so, I didn't do chemo until the 17th.  So, let me give you a daily blow by blow of my life since the 9th....

September 10th - Went to the Puyallup Fair.  Mason placed second in both Tractor Pull and Muttin Bustin.  Nolan did very well, but not getting dirt his is eyes is WAY more important than placing at Muttin Bustin.  Boys went on a lot of big boy rides - together.  It was a beautiful day and to watch them talk on the ride, laugh, point at sights on the swings, etc. was truly precious.  They are growing up - wow.

September 11th - No Chemo.  I am starting to show symtoms of low platelets - bruises are not healing, etc.  Grant starts freaking out and looking up everything on the internet.  He forwards me this article on how too much blood thinning can cause your platelets to dive.  "Are you going to forward this to Hank?"  "I will talk to him about it." I reply.  See, here the thing......I am not going to talk to Hank unless there is nothing I am doing that I am doing to get me in, when I think about it....the further I get from chemo I can drink red wine.  I had been drinking red more red wine.  Monitor new bruise and see if it heals better.

September 12th - Just a normal Mom day.  Grant takes the boys to soccer.

13th and 14th - Rest.  Count a million Box Tops.  How did I get this job?  Oh yeah, it makes me sit.  At $300 which means I have sorted, cut, and bound 3000 Box Tops.

15th - Soccer games all morning.

16th - My cousin gets married.  The wedding is in Bellingham.  I decide and have told her I cannot come.  I must rest and see if I can do chemo the next day.  Bruise way better.  No need to talk to Hank.  No more red wine.  Go to Acupuncture.

17th - Chemo.  Yes!  Crap!  Yuck!  Whew.  No more red wine.  Make ridiculous phone calls to tell people that chemo schedule is on.  (Sorry.)  Kitties sleep with me.  BTW - the second kitties name is Hannah June.  So, Molly Moon and Hannah June.  Yes, they are ridiculously girly names, and I like them!

18th - Feel okay.  Make it to Mason and Nolan's Open House at school.  Chris gives me water halfway through.  "Whatever you do - don't touch the water fountain!'  Thanks Chris!  Kitties sleep with me.

19th  - Feel like crap.  Bruise almost gone - record healing.  No more red wine - not that that sound appealing anyway.  Kitties sleep with me.

20th - Boys come home.   Kitties sleep with me.  I am better.

21st - I am good, but cautious.  But I got the BEST news in a long time.  Mia, the little girl that I took care of last year, got her progress tests back.  See, last fall, my taking care of her was also part of a plan to help improve her performance at school.  From what her Mom was telling me, I was like, "There is nothing WRONG with Mia.  She just needs some extra help.  Why don't I talk her Monday through Wednesday?"  She agreed and it began.  We walked home from school, ate snack, did homework, and I LOVED IT.  So nice to have a girl around!  Well, apparently, my, as well as everyone else's help, paid off.  Mia not only is proficient at reading and math, she is officially advanced at reading and approaching advanced at math.  YEAH MIA! now to some is a list of "I never thought....." since Labor Day.....

I never thought I would have Robin Christopher Meredith Jones help clean my house.  BTW - he is awful at it.  I mean, he cleans it, but living through the commentary was more than one should have to deal with!  "HOLY CRAP ANG!  When was the last time you dusted up there (beam 12 feet in the air)?!??!  Well, good thing I am doing it!"  Jen was a much better helper.  SHOCKER!

I never thought I would drive 45 mins for a bra store and do it twice because a bra is so amazing!  SERIOUSLY!  GO TO SOMA!  (Women only please.)  Thanks Emily!

I never thought that days after I got two kittens that I apparently did not want I would have to put down my cat that was not my cat because of cancerous lesions in her mouth and down her throat.  I did not tell the boys is was cancer.  I sobbed for a entire day.

I never thought I would want to go to chemo.....

Enjoy the day and watch the moments - they fly by - just like my boys on the swings........

Love, Ang

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Last Tuesday at "Chemo"

Last Tuesday, I showed up for chemo and Hank said, "I want to wait a week.  Your platelets are coming back, but I think we need a break."  I look at him nonchalantly and say, "I can't say I am broken up about this.  It is going to be a beautiful week and I really don't want to do this this week anyway.  BYE!"  "You ARE going up for Avastin though..."  WHATEVER!  Avastin is a tumor reducer, no chemo, no pump, no loss of three days - YIPPEE!  "That is fine, but I need to take you to the lobby.....follow me....."  And he does.....silly, silly man.  So, we have a new Cancer Floor, generously donated by the person that insisted on calling it the "True Family WOMEN's Cancer Center".  Really??!?!?!?!  Okay, fine, so I got over that, but I don't have a female cancer, which I have been repeatedly told about every time I think about going to a female cancer support group.  (Basically, I am told that I won't get that much out of I don't have a female cancer.)  Hank must have gotten a pass for me to go to "their" floor.  I have no idea how he is getting the men in!  ANYHOO!  When the elevator door open on the floor it is all GLARINGLY white.  There is a HUGE white light inset over the elevators.  It reminds me of a portal to the next life, if you know what I mean.  I then check in with two women standing behind pods, not a desk, a pod.  I ask if I am suppose to check in or am I getting a table at the chemo restaurant?  They laugh and tell me there are getting a new desk because the patients hate it.  We are so spoiled - seriously.  So, Elane and sit down to wait for my appointment on the very skinny, slippery, very high end, leather sofa/chairs.  We are then facing back toward the elevators and we see the above photo.  SERIOUSLY, WE ARE CANCER PATIENTS, SO WE NEED THE EXIT SIGN TO THE PORTAL TO HEAVEN!??!?!?!?  So, I show and describe this to Hank and he said, "Everyone thinks that is a portal."  "But, do we really need the Exit Sign there too?!?!?!  Do we need any help with this -  we have cancer, do you need to have the path all laid out also."  "You are a nut.....go downstairs (to treatment)."  Yes, yes, I am a nut, but COME ON, I am also right!  I go for Avastin, I am out in 45 mins and home in 30 more.  I was talking to Elaine on the way home and she said, "I don't know if I like this - you are so with it - I can't be right on everything!!!!"  No chemo, no dummy drugs.  It is a double edge sword for some.  So, la la la, I go on with my life last week - and somehow I got cast in a YouTube video by Heather and adopted two kitties.  Life it is busy especially when you are not in chemo......but let me tell you about the kitties.  First, during the last five years of cancer, I have had to put both of my cats down - Kokanne was 12 and had kidney failure, Africa was 16 and was just old.  Africa was my soul mate kitty if there ever was one.  She was my baby before the boys were born, she would knock me in the forehead after Mason was born if he was crying and I was asleep, she knocked me in the forehead when everyone thought I was having a stroke and I decided calling the EMT was overrated - she walked on me, knocked me in the head and basically would not leave me alone until I called them.  She layed again my back scars after lung surgery, she followed me upstairs and downstairs during chemo and when she was in her final days, she stopped hissing at Cutie Pie (the nonadopted, yet never leaving our yard, outdoor cat) as if to say, "Take care of her, will ya?"  Since losing her in February, I have researched cat adoption, looked at cats online, visited shelters, and learned a lot about pet adoption, but I could not just do it.  I felt that I would never be able to let go of my loss for my Africa.  SIDE NOTE:  Adopting a cat these days is a pain in the frickin' butt.  16 years ago you just asked who was having kittens.  Now?  You have to go to a shelter, where you fill out an application, if you have ever or would ever contemplate declawing them you cast in a dark shadow of judgement, you sign a contract that would will never starve them them or beat them or whatever else.  HOLY COW!  When I left the hospital with Mason, my SON, I apparently could starve him, beat him, etc. because I have not contract saying I couldn't!  In addition, Mason and Nolan are circumcised.  No one EVER said, "That is it!  You can't have them!  You have forever scared them - FOR LIFE!"  Let's remember - this is a CAT.  But, whatever, the boys have been on me about getting two kitties and I have been saying things like, "Not during the summer, kitties need a lot of sleep which they can do while you are in school."  or, "It is not kitten season.", or "I don't want a black kitten", (Africa was all black), or "They need to be kittens and sisters."  So, we look on the internet, search, etc., but I was not going to shelters with them.  Then, finally, this week Mason is like, "You said we would get kittens!"  Which I probably did in a weak moment, so.......I come up with a plan........a devious plan that will foil their plans and give me more time to do whatever it is that is holding me up.  I go to the shelter by my house on Wednesday.  PetsMart is there taking a lot of the cats to the Federal Way store - BRILLIANT!  With this, there are no sisters, no kittens, no chance in adopting a cat today.  It is 2:15.  I pick up the boys from school and tell them we are going to the shelter to look for a kitten.  It is 2:45.  I even go so far in the plan that I have the cat carrier in the car and I brought the application that I filled out months ago, but never turned in for fear of the judgement.  We go, we look, there are a lot of empty cages, (evil smile - my plan is working), "Oh, well, we can try again next week.", "But Mom there is one more room...."  "Those are all empty in there (knowing PetsMart took all those)."  From behind us I hear, "Oh, well, there are two new ones in there." said the volunteer.  My stomach sinks - RUN!  GET OUT!  RUN!  We enter and my painfully literate son reads, "We are just out of surgery.  We will be ready for adoption tomorrow."  "Are they girls?" Mason exclaims.  The volunteer said, "Let me check.  I will have to go to the front desk."  Darn literate and confident children.  "Yes, they are!  Are you interested?"  Both of my boys look at me and say nothing.  Pause.  This is a defining moment and let's face it my foiling has been foiled.  Pause.  Inhale.  Exhale.  And I finally let go of the Africa rope and say, "I have an application in the car.  Let me go get it."  It is approved.  WHAT?!?!  I declawed my last cats!  "You have been the registered owner of two cats for twelve and sixteen years that we have never had to so much as lift a finger for.  We bet, you are a good bet.  You will do what is best for them.  Okay, be here tomorrow AT OPENING, these two will go fast.  "Okay, I will."  We drive home and the boys are asking all sorts of questions, "Can you be there at opening?  Will we get them"  Can't you put them on hold?"  I respond with, "Yes.  I don't know, but will do everything I can.  No, Nolan, this isn't Nordstrom.  Cats don't got on hold."  I rearrange my schedule, I am there at 11:55, second in line.  The first - a man in a wheel chair that is "pacing" the front gate.  Okay, dude, you are first.  It opens, I go straight to the cat center.  Luckily the guy in a wheel chair was going for a dog.  Glad that didn't get ugly.  I tell them which cats I want, straight to the desk, and the officer I get a old neighbor of my family.  "Are you related to Keith Clarno?  Yes?  You were SUCH a teenager and having a crisis when I met you.  You had to be excused."  Thanks?!?!?!  What the hell do you say to that?  I was 17!  Then her cell phone rings and she says - no lie, "I am having a crisis and have to take this sorry."  Ironic.  One hour later, she finished the paperwork, I get the kitties, and drive home.  Foiled, but happy.  They are so precious and fitting in quite nicely.  One has her name, "Molly Moon" and the other doesn't yet, but we are close.  I will let you know when we do.  Happy Sunday - Ang

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Nolan's first day of Kindergarten

My last chemo was on the 20th of August.  I couldn't see my acupuncturist that previous Sunday, so I was a bit nervous, because I had been doing so well.  When my blood work came back for Hank, he said that my platelets were at 61.  That means 61000.  100000 is what oncologists like to see.  The last time we skipped chemo I was at 71000.  He did not want to give me chemo, but I said, "It is either today or I see you in two weeks.  Nolan starts Kindergarten on the 30th of August, and I am not missing it."  Without losing step he said, "Yes, you need to be there for that.  I can adjust things to make it safe, but mumble mumble mumble....."  "Mumble" I took to mean - CRAP, this is going to kick the shit out of her, but I don't have a choice because she is not coming next week, I am on vacation anyway and I secretly don't trust her with anyone else (I am usually not allowed to do chemo if Hank is not in the building because of my little episode a while back), so CRAP...well, here goes.  And, KICK THE SHIT OUT OF ME IT DID.  I was down until last Sunday afternoon.  But I did it and I was there for Nolan's first day.  Nolan did great and I did great too, but I was, well, weird all day long.  Mom came to see Nolan off to and to see where the classrooms were for when she cares for them.  We went to coffee afterward.  I shared with her how weird and surreal that day was and she said, (She is going to KILL me, but she said...), "When you were diagnosed, I put a list in my head of all the things you needed to do/see.  And you did it.  I know you wanted to do get here (Nolan in school) so that things would be easier for Grant in case, and you did it."  She held my hand and we shared some tears.  Yeah, she was right.  I wanted to get them into school so badly.  The hard wiring is done.  Did I do a good job?  Was I too straight with them?  Was I not straight enough?  From here on out, their teachers will be SUCH a HUGE influence on their lives.  Will they remember me?  Wait.....I am not dying......I am still here and now I have 6 hours a day BY MYSELF NOT NECESSARILY BEING SICK.  Frickin' eh - where is the Mamosa!?!  Let's go to a rated R movie!  I want to wax my legs!  I don't wax my legs.  I want to wax them anyway!  And off I went to meet Susie P., my cancer buddy for lunch.  She makes me laugh so hard - she is a nut bar and I LOVE IT.  So, we are having lunch and catching up, and she is telling me want to do...."Okay, let's order first, then talk....okay, I have to tell you about my horseback riding trip.....okay, now, my hip.....okay, now my ski accident.....okay, now, I am so sorry I was initially denying you sushi!....okay, now, you may speak.  I am not kidding - she is like have a tiger by the tail.  Luckily, I am pretty good at that!  Anyhoo, so I tell Susie about the day and how I am feeling and she listens really intently...and then quickly says, "I always knew you would get here!" and smiles with the Cheshire grin.  Gotta love Susie.  We catch up, I remind her to call for an appointment with Hank (because she is always three months behind), we hugged goodbye and I say, "I love you!" and she says louder, "I love you MORE!"  No winning with that woman.  ;)  I go straight to the school, turn in my after school care paperwork and see Mason off.  I pick up Nolan (I could not put him in after school care the first day) and he says, "MOMMY, look in my lunch box!"  YEP, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING ME FOR A COUPLE YEARS, IT FELT LIKE SOMEONE PUNCHED ME IN THE STOMACH.  Historical note:  Mason's lunch was rejected two years ago on his first day on Kindergarten and he was forced to order a "Uncrustable" which I don't let my children near.  I know no one has ever heard of that - I think I was the first in the nation!  For more on that, you can read the post from September of 2010.  Anyhoo, I say, it in a semi hysterical voice, "Why?!!?!?!?"  "JUST LOOK!" he replies.  Nolan wanted the EXACT same lunch as Mason.  Nolan hates ham and cheese, but ham and cheese he insisted on.  I slowly open his pack, people are buzzing around me, I open the lunch box and he said, "SURPRISE!  I ATE IT ALL!  LET'S GO TO COLD STONE!"  My head was spinning, but I got it together.  I praised him and we went to Cold Stone.  The evening ended with me having a conversation with my neighbor and I was tell her about my day.  She hugged and high fived me and said, "There lots more to do - I am looking at the long run!" "Me too." I said.  I slept so hard that night.  Everything was right in the world for me.  My boys in school.  I got them there and whoever they are, whoever they might be, there will be part of me there - GOD HELP THEM!  :)  Happy Labor Day Weekend, Ang