Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas 2013

It is 5:22am on Christmas morning and I have already been up, set the house ablaze with candles, made coffee (VIA - modern day Sanka), read email which included the balance on the ski vacation reminder (really ON CHRISTMAS - seriously, those Canadians are cold! hehe), and now I am 'talking' to you.  The last couple weeks have been, well, interesting.  My last post included the passing of Shelly.  That will reset your perspective and after attending an amazingly beautiful, heartfelt, and true representation of an incredible woman, life's "busyness" just does not matter anymore.  I even laughed in a friends face when she told me in horror that her tree died on the stand after only three weeks and that she spends eight hours on lights alone every year.  The company she bought the tree from was horrified (have I used that enough??!), replaced the tree with any on the lot, gave her a poinsettia on the way out the door, and was SOOOOOOO sorry that it happened.  She was sincerely mad at me for laughing.  I was like, "Someday you will laugh about that this and, quite frankly, eight hours?!?!?!?  I take maybe, if timed, three minutes.  You chose to take eight hours and did you think that might be why the tree died?"  She was not amused in the least.  She will forgive me someday.  She has to - we are in Bible Study together!  ;)  

Christmas came together, BUT I did hit the anger stage of grief.  Unfortunately for my Mom, I was driving her and I to "Oliver" downtown.  Those poor people.  I honked at stupid lost people that were looking around more than driving a 5000 vehicle.  I cut people off from cutting to the end of the lane before the exit saying, "Okay, you have been warned of this for 3 miles and now you are getting over?!?!?!?  Hit me!  Your car is WAY better than mine!  Yeah, I thought so."  My Mom meekly asked, "You okay? You seem a little tightly strung?" while she squinted her eyes like, "Don't hurt me, please don't hurt me."  I answered with, "People think their lives are SOOO important and they are not, they are rude and fighting for position for what?!??!  And then really good people die....."  As we pulled into the parking stall, I cried.  I am okay now, but if you are stupid or shallow don't cross paths with me.  Consider yourselves warned.  Merry Christmas!  

As for the boys, I have gotten really good at hiding gifts and, like I always do on December 23rd, I was worried a bit that we did not get them enough. Would it be a Christmas to remember?  When I was little, I remembered Christmas morning to be a roaring fire in the fireplace and my Dad waking me up because HE was so excited.  I remember the Teddy Bear Christmas and the Bike Christmas.  I do not remember the Christmas I did not get enough, I remember two presents.  Two in 44 years.  That's enough.

Gotta go....I hear scurrying......

May you have a beautiful Christmas and may everyday of your life represent the best of you and yours, Ang

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Sometimes life slaps you in the face.....

1.  Baby slap in the face...

The first week of December was a tough one.  The pressure of Christmas was on, Mason's Birthday was here and he decided right before Thanksgiving weekend and that he did not was a 1/2 Birthday Party in June at the pool, he wanted a birthday party.  SERIOUSLY.  Nolan started puking on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got a migraine on Thanksgiving, but the best part was, I got the party planned, kids were back in school, Evite went out, and Grant comes home early with the flu on Tuesday. I ask him if he can watch Nolan while I take Mason to Ukulele, he says yes and I go.  Well, through all of this, I haven't been, well, the best of Mothers.  I certainly would not have been nominated for Mother of the Year, or, let's face it, Mother of the Day.  Ukulele went GREAT.  Mason was praised by his teacher that he loves and when we got in the car, Mason, in Mason fashion, started philosophizing.  He said, "Mom, when you get upset, you need to go upstairs in your room, lay down, take a deep breath and think of all the good times like when we went to Disneyland on Mother's Day........(he keeps going)"  I am thinking, "We never were in Disneyland on Mother's Day....when did that happen....and that?!?!?!"  And I got to make a decision right there....get mad or listen to the message as it was intended.  I said, "Mason, thank you.  I will take that under advisement.  I know things have been a little hectic (sickness, birthday planning AT THE LAST MINUTE IN DECEMBER!, etc. etc.) and I am sorry.  We got home and walked in the house.  Things are weird.  Dinner is out.  I have everything ready it just had to be served.  Nolan was in front of the TV watching a show on Discovery.  Oh, nice the guy on the TV is puking.  Fantastic.  He is watching Moonshiners.  FABULOUS.  (Nolan does not know who to operate the Tivo or change the channel.  I was proud of that until now.)  Grant is upstairs having chills and totally out of it.  I tell Mason to get something on TV that is appropriate and I will get dinner going.  Yes, we can eat in front of the TV, fine, whatever just get Moonshiners off of it.  While I am getting dinner ready, Mason comes in and says, "MOM, Nolan is sooooooo frustrating.  He wants to watch Moonshiners (of course he does - he is my son) and he is not listening and I just want to hit him!"  YEP.  I know, right?!?!??!?  Breathe.  Now, a better Mother, would have hugged him and told him something teachable and helpful, but let's face it, her I ain't.  I looked at him and said, "Mason, when these things happen, you need to go upstairs in your bed, take a deep breath and think about the good times."  He looked at me and did something like, "ARRGGHHH!" and left the room.  I happily watched Curious George at dinner.  Later, Mason and I laughed about it, talked about it, and did the teachable thing.

2.  Mommy slap in the face....

The week ends and I am still under pressure to get to my last doctor appointment of the year, get the cake, read about my friend, Shelly, research more about this new liver procedure and she and I are convinced will be the turning point in her treatment (at least we were in October), she has had some challenges, but she sounds good on Facebook, visit with another friend that was just diagnosed, get her set up for treatment over the holidays, etc. etc. And then yesterday.....I went on Facebook and there was a weird picture, I went on Shelly's page....and she was gone.  Gone.  I scrolled and scrolled disbelieving what I was reading.  She was just fine over the weekend.  She just posted the most hilarious things over Thanksgiving.  I just posted to her on the 8th.  And then I had to accept it.  I sent a few emails, posted on my page, and then this morning (after being a hot mess yesterday morning) I wrote this to a good friend who was worried that I was experiencing what is called survivor guilt. This was my response....

I am much better today.  I, of course, am feeling the guilt.  She was my protege.  I was first and therefore would go first.  Once, during one of her chemo sessions, she said, "Angie, if something happens to you, I do not know what I would do."  My reply was, "Nothing is going to happen to us, but if it does you will carry on." all the while thinking of Bob and knowing that someday she would have to face it.  This was the wrong order.  Children should not die before their parents, and cancer proteges should outlive their teachers.  We were a force to be reckoned with and my girl is gone, so I am taking my own advice and carrying on mainly because she would throw it in my face if she knew all this and now, unfortunately for me, she has that opportunity.   I do not feel her like I did Bob, but I know where she is and the blanket of love she is casting.  It is right where it should be.  

Shelly, you fought like a champion as I know you are doing now.  I kinda feel sorry for God right now, but he will probably handle it okay.  I was blessed to be your teacher and your student.  I know why you did. I understand the drive to see your precious babies grown up.  All I can tell you now, is that you did it.  Everything they need to know you taught them.  Of course, they will miss you, but they will see you again, and you are free of this nasty business of cancer.  You can now be there always and your light runs through their veins.  Well done Shel - WELL DONE.  Love you, Angie

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving and.....

THANKSGIVING.  Thanksgiving is HERE.  HOLY CRAP!  How did that happen?  Wait, I wanted that to happen.  I longed for this.  Y'know, time going too fast, holidays sneaking up on you, years flying by.  The flip side of that is hoping to make to Christmas, through Christmas with memories you want your kids to have...norms change....THANK GOD.

Everything Thanksgiving, my family and a set group of friends meet up.  For many years, it was at my Mom's house, then with all the chaos, it was at a friends, and now it is back at my Mom's house.  I am going down today to check it out, wash bar wear, and help her with her Verizon Bill.  Usually, she is freaking out right about now, but she is more concerned about her Verizon Bill than anything else......this should be interesting.  Maybe she just doesn't worry about the little stuff after the last post she called me and was like, "Herpes too?  When did you get Herpes?"  I explained it was just the medicine and, "No, Mom, no one thinks I have herpes...."

So, for this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the normal stuff - being alive, not being in chemo, y'know, but this year my net is wider.  This year started with my Mom have a large haital (SP) hernia and needed surgery, my Dad's prostate cancer had to be treated - aggressively, we were going into a remodel and we were between houses for seven weeks.  I pureed my Mom's food, monitored her pills (even when she took them whole - BAD MOMMY), reviewed my Dad's treatment, made dinner for the family, packed leftovers for Grant.  I did this all out of the guest house at my parents.  We went to San Diego.  My Mom got back to solid foods, my Dad didn't have to sleep next to the bathroom (on a brick floor mind you) because he didn't want to wake Mom, the boys, or me.  We moved back in, loved our house, and came in on time and within budget.  We had an open house, went camping, went to Montana, dug fossils and dinosaur bones.  With all the bad came the good, with all the hardship came victory.  What a year.  And one thing that I would like to stress is that no one in my family complained - not once.  My Mom ate pureed food for three weeks - not one complaint.  My Dad slept for probably a week on a brick floor even though I gave him every other option in the world - not once.  I guess that is where I got it from.  It probably is from my Mom's Montana roots and my Father's Eastern Washington upbringing.  Not a complaint, no grace either, but not a complaint.  Thankful for the docs, thankful for the support, thankful, well, for everything.

LAST THING - I "won" a trip to Hawaii!  I was filling a seat for Karissa and Morgan and the Childhaven action and I always get a Golden Ticket which is a $150 raffle ticket.  This ticket, if drawn, lets you take something off the live auction - FOR $150.  So, I bought it and wandered around the silent auction with Karissa and, her sister, Lisa.  We were dressed to the nines and looking good I may say!  We were like, "We are NOT going home just with a receipt this year!  We are getting something!  YEAH!  YEAH!"  No, behavior and dress do not match all the time in my world.  Anyway, she got a couple silent auction items and I entered the live auction with my raffle ticket and 4 tickets to the Tacoma Rainiers (silent auction item).  I was STARVING.  There was no cheese plate this year!  The introduction starts and I am like, "Is there bread?  Can I eat that?"  Again with the behavior, I know!  FINALLY, they bring out a salad and I am like, "HOLY COW!"  People next to me were like, "What is this?  What is that?"  I was like, "Salad, oddly with a small side of potatoes, and, oh yeah, those are beets."  Golden ticket drawing beginning, "NUMBER 159!"  My ticket was 222.  I continue eating.  "Can you pass the bread?"  and all of the sudden I hear my name over the PA.  Then Karissa is very sternly said, "Ang, YOU WON!  IT IS YOUR PADDLE NUMBER."  I was like, "No, I didn't.  My ticket is 222."  Stuff face with bread.  At that point, if Karissa could flick my forehead, she would have.  She was like, "Ang - YOU WON.  GO UP THERE!"  Turn, wipe mouth, pretty sure I have salad in my teeth.  LIGHTS ON ME.  I go up on stage.  Dazed but I hope that I am going to be as eloquent and sophisticated as I was trained to be at one time.  John Curley asked me if I know which item I want and I let's back up.....the night before, I read all the rules of the Golden ticket right before bed and read all options to Grant.  I asked him what he would want and he played along thinking and rolling his eyes to himself like, "You know the odds are against you, right?!?!?!"  All he said was, "It is hard to beat Hawaii."  UNPAUSE.  Okay, back to the stage, I know what I want.  I could have been suave and cool, but because I am me and this is my life I am QUITE sure that it came out like, "WHA - OH HAWAII!!!!  MAUI!!!  Yeah, that one......." and I am QUITE SURE I spit a couple pieces of salad out on the stage.  So, I won.  $150 for a trip to Maui.  Next year is our 20th wedding anniversary and we honeymooned there.  PERFECT.  I was never one for odds anyway.......

May you have the BEST of Thanksgivings!  Love, Ang

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ahhhhh....nerve blockers......

So, pain during the weekend was bit better and Monday I saw the doctor that did my ablation procedure.  He was like, "You had some excitement on Friday.  Why didn't you page me?"  I explained that my phone was dead and I had also lost his pager number. He gave it to me again.  I said also, "You know you were off on Friday."  I do not know why I say these things.  These are futile arguments when you deal with Docs that are so committed to their patients.  I got the look.  It said, "I told you you can page me whenever you need to, so cut it."  Remember, it was just a look, but I still said, "Okay, okay, I am sorry.  You are in my special doctor location in my wallet now.  I will page you."  He responded with, "You did the right thing to come in."  I nod.  He examined me and said, "Well, I am not surprised at this, but I am a little confused on why it did not happen immediately after the procedure."  He went on to tell me how fast nerves heal (they don't), what I can expect, and what we can do for pain management.  "There is this drug that is a nerve blocker.  It will help with the pain, but the numbness will be there for a while.  It has been very successful with Herpes patients."  I was fine until Herpes.  I look at him like, "Am I supposed to be able to relate to that, and how do you know that?!?!?"  WHATEVER.  They work and I am back in the saddle.  So much so, I delivered 1300 products yesterday for the fundraiser.  Don't worry I am resting today with my Herpes medicine.  Happy Wednesday!  Ang

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I thought is was done, then....

Friday the 11th went well.  Like really well.  The procedure went great, the doc and I agreed that I should not get pain meds after the procedure just to see how my pain was.  I believed and I think I convinced him it was the pain meds that made me sick last time.  When I was infertility treatment, my Dr. at the time said, "Tell me about your cramps."  I said, "They are normal."  Months later in the process, I was having cramps and said, "Hang on, I need to lay down.  I have cramps."  So, I laid down and was breathing through the cramps.  By this time, I had been through several infertility tests and NEVER experienced pain even when I was supposed to.  He looked at me and said, "That isn't normal.  Angie, you always say you have a low tolerance for pain.  After all this time, I think it is quite the opposite."  After labor and delivery and cancer treatment including bilateral lung surgery, I believe him.  So, I had no pain meds, they gave me a BEAUTIFUL QUIET ROOM and he made me stay until 8 for observation and then released me.  Karissa stayed all day.  Gotta love that girl.  Grant got the kids and played with Robin and Jen on Friday night.  I didn't bother them until I was in the car.  I wanted to make sure I was coming home.  During the weekend, I slept a lot.  Robin and Jen cooked dinner for Grant and I.  Not just any dinner, anniversary dinner.  They brought everything - flowers, their pictures from all those years ago, chocolate, wine, everything.  Still in my PJs, I combed my hair and we have a very nice evening.  They went to the movies with the boys.  BTW - my boys adore their girls and the play so nicely together.  We are really blessed.  Grant and I really relaxed and just talked about everything.  He even told me about thing growing up that I didn't know about.  He was also drinking, so I was playing with him a little, like, "Tell me more about that and what about past girlfriends...."  He just looked at me and said, "Now you are taking advantage of the situation."  "Moi?"  ;)  Anyhoo, we all went to the pumpkin patch the next day and did the pumpkin sling shot.  ROBIN won the GIGANTIC pumpkin this year and it is now proudly placed in our front yard.  Kinda thought that may be a problem at the border crossing.  The corn maze took twice as long this year with 14 points to obtain before we could leave and get our prize which was a giant, like size of your fist, jawbreaker.  Nolan had it ALL over himself  by the time we got home.  I took a nap and the house began to smell like Thanksgiving Dinner.  It was awesome - complete with homemade pumpkin cheesecake.  Robin had made it in Kelowna and transported it all the way here.  Jen was complaining about how big the pan was and what family would ever need a cheesecake that size. She offered to leave the pan here.  After dessert, they took the pan.  Rightfully so.  It really didn't end up being that big after all.  The Jones' said their goodbyes and packed up for the big drive on Monday.  Apparently, their giant jawbreakers lasted the entire trip!  Monday morning arrived and I got the kids off to school.  I was tired all day, but by Wednesday I was a full steam.  PTA busy, 8200 box tops submitted, working with Heather and email conversions not going well, ukulele practice, basketball for Nolan, soccer for Mason and then Thursday hit.  I was like, okay, I have a cough and my chest hurts.  Do as little as possible.  I clear the rest of the day.  Friday morning I feel better....start again....3pm my left side is numb on one thin line (my lung surgery sucher line) and shooting pain in the same area that registered as a 9 out of 10 occur.  I am at Staples.  Phone dead.  I email from my iPad.  Hank says, "At this point of the day, go to the ER because they can do all the tests we need."  This is one of the longest responses he has ever given me because he knows that I consider a visit to the ER a failure.  I get there before 4 and email once more, "I am here...can't I do this in the office or do I have to go to the ER."  "I am afraid they are the only ones that can run everything I want."  I end the conversation with, "Fine, but you are mean."  (I apologized later.)  Friday night in the ER is, well, interesting.  I called Grant and he was like, "What - I can't hear you?  You want me to what?  Why?'  I hung up on them screaming in the phone - "READ YOUR EMAIL!"  I had cced him on everything.  He met me at the ER.  We had a nice time and I apologized for yelling at him.  He understood and I think I gave him some insight on the cell reception at the proposed new rental space for CRETE.  The nurses were great.  I did say that the only silver lining to this ER visit was that I was missing a birthday party Chuckie Cheese.  (THANK YOU BECKEY FOR TAKING THE BOYS WITH MIA!  YOU TOOK ONE FOR THE TEAM LAST NIGHT!)  One nurse looked at me with that OMG look and said, "I can keep you here as long as you want."  I was there until 8pm just as the party was ending.  EKGs, CAT scan, lung x-rays, and blood work.  I felt RIDICULOUS being there with some numbness and shooting pain.  Hank came in.  "I think you have a gummed up nerve.  They may have nicked something last week. You lungs are good, your heart is good and no PE (blood clot) which we were worried about.  Go home."  Don't have to tell me twice.  I was up and leaving when Grant said, "Honey, your IV is still in."  The nurse came in and tells me that I need to relax, eat fruits and vegetables, walk around the block, and not be so hurried.  I didn't say much but when we got in the car Grant was like, "Who was that nurse?"  I said, "I don't know, but I want a burger from Family Drive In, you?"  That was a great burger.  Happy Saturday (from home!), Ang

Monday, October 14, 2013

As well as could be expected and

way better than I expected.  The ablation went well.  We will not know if it was completely successful or not until 3-6 months from now, but he hit where he wanted to and he got it as much as he had plan.  Wow...what a blessing.  I had a great weekend and I will tell you all about it later, but for now, I wanted you to know, that I am really fine....moving but tire pretty easily, so give me a day or two for details...thank, Ang

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The plan is set...

All of my docs decided that we going to do ablation surgery.  There was some discussion about if we should do such an invasive procedure but the final word was, "...she is healthy and we can do this now, so we will.."  Invasive?  Really?  I have had both of my lungs (at different times, of course) taken out, cut, stitched, cauterized, stapled, and then put back in.  Invasive is not impaling you with a 14 gauge needle to put in a very hot probe and burn something out.  That is like a walk in the park.  HOWEVER, I will say this ablation surgery will be more complicated than the previous and on the list of things that could happen are: burn a hole in my bronchial tube and/or burn my lung resulting in temporary pleurisy.  Both are either corrected by surgery or good ol' healing.  When I was asked if I had any questions, I said, "Is death on the side effects list?"  "Probably not, but...."  So, "no".  COOL, LET'S DO IT!  I check in Friday at 8am for a 10am procedure.  Karissa is going to take me, I spend the night in the hospital (hopefully not the slip and fall wing again - note to self - take ear plugs!), and Mom will take me home after a clean chest x-ray on Saturday morning.

And with the crisp nights, rain, and Canadian Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I am reminded that it is my anniversary.  Nineteen years and counting (again).  I mean that in a good way - I am actually looking forward despite my surgery, my stats, my diagnosis 6 and a half years ago.  So, bring it got nothing on me.  Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!  Love, Ang

Friday, September 13, 2013

And then I cried.

Yesterday was, well, fun if love needles and pain.  I have learned to be pretty good with it, but wow.  So, at 9:00am we went to the CT Scanner and I was suppose to lay as close to how I lay during my PET/CT scan.  Easy.  Local pain killer was injected, but nothing else because your lung moves when you breath and you have to be able to hold your breath.  No happy drugs for this one!  This was harder than they thought and after 45 mins on in an out, calling for a 25 gauge needle (that is HUGE) and asking me if this hurts or is it just pressure, I was unable to breathe "normally".  It is really hard to breathe when a needle is going in and out of your lung.  Your body is trying to protect itself and you your brain is trying to allow it to happen.  We finally came to, "Angie, I have another opportunity.  I will have to start all over and it will hurt.  You will have to hold your breath as long as you can."  My reply, "Do it.  I am NOT getting off the table until we get it."  The tech came in, held my left hand and by the end was holding my forehead down to keep me still.  I was doing everything to not move (somewhat unsuccessful), tears were streaming down my face wetting my hair on either side.  And then they said it, "Fluids out.  You are a trooper."  They bandaged me up, told me test results would start coming in soon, but probably next week.  Grant took me home.  I didn't do much but sit on the couch and work on the upcoming fundraiser for school.  I emailed Hank and scheduled with him for next week - Friday.  His voice kept coming into my head, "Angie, if it is cancer on the right side and we know we have cancer in the left, we may have to consider chemo."  Systemic approach.  I slowly close my eyes and breathe.  Mason was still home but way on the mend.  The school open house was last night and we all went.  I hurt, but not enough to miss it.  Went to bed right when we got home.  This morning I dropped the kids at school, did a couple things, and have a meeting at 11 with the principle.  I got home, chatted with Karissa while prepping for my meeting - she got new kitties and they are so cute!, and then I hung up and went to my email.  Hank emailed - no subject.  I open it, "Cytology on the fluid is negative.  Good work.  hk"  No cancer on the right side.  And then I cried.  Happy Happy Happy Friday, Ang

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lighting speed....

My doc that is going to take the fluid from my lung calls me and says, "Did you take your Lovenox today because I would like to get the fluid this afternoon.  We have a small window of opportunity to get this fluid."  No kidding!  So, with one kid sick and a teacher training today and two more kids coming home, I was like, "Today is a bit tight, but tomorrow I am all yours."  "Great, Donna will call and schedule it."  Thank God I have so many people to drive me, watch my kids, and take care of everything.  So, it begins.....

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Well, it is not perfect, but workable....

I got the call today during Leadership Committee at my sons' school.  Mason had to be picked up early.  Fever and exhaustion.  Then, 45 mins later, I picked up Nolan.  The 10 mins later I left for Leadership.  Thank Goodness I have a babysitter that is flexible! Call came in at 4:30.  He asked me how I was doing, what I was doing, etc. I told him and he said, "You are really amazing."  And I feel it...I now get to juggle more, don't I?  "There are two things that we have to look at.  One, is the same place we did cyberknife. (That is in my left lung.)  I looks like it is back and we have an email out to the Doc to see if she can treat it, but I think she can.  (She is on vacation!)  Two, you have fluid in your right lung."  I explained to him that it made sense.  Something has been up with my right lung.  I just figured it was anxiety, guess I was wrong.  He said it was super small, so I would not have been able to feel it.  Okay, maybe I am super sensitive!?!?!?!  So, tomorrow, I will get a call and set the appointment to get the fluid removed and tested.  If it tests positive, we may treat it or I will be back in chemo.  We will do cyberknife again to the other side if that is possible.  It really is still up in the air.  The giant yes/no chart in the sky.....

Is this perfect?  No.  Is it workable?  Yes.  Is it what I want?  No.  Do I like chemo is back inching its way on the table. ABSOLUTELY F&*()@*#&#*($&%@#(KING NOT.  Am I at death's door?  No, far from it.  Am I annoyed?  Yes.  So......tomorrow, I will be okay, but tonight I will feel it.  If I don't it will creep up on me, it will shadow me, and it will scare me.  Yes, tonight I will curl up with my sick boy and take care of him......because tomorrow and the next day and the next day is all I need.  I just need to string them all together to make into a lifetime.  I will be fine tomorrow.  Ang

Friday, September 6, 2013

And with a haircut a summer is gone...

Settle in, preferably with a beer (or coffee if it is the am), this is a long one...

Summer.  This summer was great wasn't it?  Hot, dry, sunny, beautiful.  You could actually depend on the weather.  We had an amazing summer.  Well, there was camping at Mt. Rainier during a lighting storm and so much rain that Grant was digging trenches around the tent with a Frisbee and our inflatable mattress was literally floating in a puddle under the tent.  Somehow we stayed dry enough for the boys to sleep through and once Grant's adrenaline subsided to sleep a little.  All I said was, "The faster we go to sleep the faster we wake up."  We dried everything out the next day and went home after dinner and before the rain.  Basketball camp was fun for the boys.  Nolan is a true fan - quite a little basketball player he will be.  And then the grand finale....a road trip.  We started in Republic, WA.  We had lunch in Soap Lake and Drive In where you "phone in' your order - boys loved it!  Did the Grand Coulee Dam tour and rolled into the Lake Curlew Campground at 5ish.  We set up, cooked dinner with 100 yellow jackets, and the boys met Johnny.  Johnny just got a fishing pole and there was a dock.  The rest of the evening was spent doing catch and release off the dock.  The boys had so much fun and smelled so much like fish!  Crazy boy fun.  The next day we went to the fossil museum and dug for fossils, the car museum in Curlew and the haunted Hotel in Curlew (but due to lack of demand the were closed on Sunday - really that means they are only open on Saturday).  Sleepy place.  We had so much fun digging we went BACK to the fossil place on Monday morning.  That morning we got up and Grant thought about showering and I was like, "No worries, we will shower in Idaho.  We are just going to get dirty this morning."  Remember, fish, dirt, fossils, camping.  He agreed and off we went.  Digging, dirty and then off to a campground in Idaho for showers.  Just an overnight to get to Essex the next stop.  When we got there, Grant and I were looking around, and Grant said, "Ang, this is a National Forest."  Already realizing that and the general lack of showers in National Forest Campgrounds, I was like, "Yes, Grant.....I thought is was a State Park....there is always the lake..."  FYI - I HATE BATHING IN LAKES AND HE IS SUPER DUPER AWARE OF THAT.  So, we set up camp.  Nolan proceeds to get dirtier than he already was playing cars in the dirt, soccer and tripping his brother who tripped him back, etc. The boys went down to the lake to "check it out".  There was no bathing in there.  First, there was a sign and then there was the fierce waves like serious skull pounding into the shore waves.  Oh well.  I guess this is what it is like to be homeless.  Have dinner and this time we had dinner will 5000 yellow jackets.  No traps at the National Parks.  We were pretty much done with it when one landed on Nolan's plate and proceeded to drag a piece of Kielbasa off that was half its size.  Grant and I exhaled and were like - we are DONE.  Next stop, Izzac Walter Inn and staying in the converted luxury diesel engine.  Laundry, restaurant, bar, game room.  Yeah...that will be welcomed.  Next day, wake up, eat breakfast as fast as we can with our 5000 buddies and off to Kalispell where Grant and I spend a lot of time when we first dated.  He worked on site in Montana quite a bit.  We stopped by the grocery store and loaded up so that we could take FULL advantage of our kitchen in our converted luxury diesel engine.  We got gas and off we went again.  When we arrived at the Inn and checked in for the converted luxury diesel engine (yes, I like saying it), I can just imagine what we looked like.  I went in alone.  Checked in and when I was just about done one of owners (which I found out later) explained to me how to get assistance after 10pm since I was not staying inside the Inn and they locked it tight at 10pm.  It was very confusing and I think I started to stink, but I replied to all of these instructions with, "Sir, I am woman that needs a shower, a laundry room, and to shave my legs.  None of which I will need assistance with and surely no assistance after 10pm.  You will not be hearing from us."  He chuckled and said, "My staff will appreciate that." and we were treated like gold from the rest of the visit.  Glacier National I would strongly recommend  to anyone and I would also recommend the red bus tour.  So amazing and the short half day Secret Valley tour is the one we went on.  Perfect.  The boys LOVED it.  The guide amazing.  The history worth every penny.  We spent one day just at the lodge.  Little hikes, playing shuffleboard (which was off the bar and the only place to get internet), watching trains and playing in our engine - a vacation from our vacation.  The last day we did the Road to the Sun and lunched at Logan Pass.  We did the hike to the Hidden Lake Lookout and saw Mountain Goats, fat squirrels, and marmots.  The day was great but now we were going into the unknown - Bynum, Montana.  Even people from Montana do not know where Bynum is.  Population 23.  No potable water.  We roll in about 6:00pm.  The Dinosaur Museum that we are going on a dig with closes at 6:30.  We check in about the next day and see the museum.  We ask where we should stay and tell them about our friendly encounter with yellow jackets.  They say, "The yellow jackets are very friendly here too."  We leave and go to the next town to find lodging or camping, but Grant and I just can't seem to get it together for camping.  Too many bees and we would have to go shopping again.  We also just found out that our dig the next day would last until 6:30 at night rather than 4 because they need so much help.  So, we caved.  We went to the Stage Stop Inn with a pool and free breakfast.  The boys were in heaven with pool.  I was in heaven with the restaurant across the street.  I never dine somewhere two nights in a row, but I did there and happily.  Amazing people; amazing HOMEMADE food.  Couple things I will say about Montana - you can take kids to bars and the food is good.  I like that, but my mama is from there, so there it is.  The Dinosaur dig was cool and yes, we got to bring home what is called float dinosaur bones.  The boys were amazing.  It was hot and we were fully clothed for the sun.  They didn't complain once.  We got to actually dig on sites.  I found stuff; Grant found stuff.  And when everyone switched except for me, my guide let me pick up against the bone (with heavy supervision), but it was so fun!  I think we are all paleontologists now.  We got back to the Stage Stop and needed showers.  The boys went to the pool and then we all went to dinner.  Best day.  We explained that the next day was going to be a LONG day in the car.  The longest we had ever had - probably 13 hours.  The boys didn't flinch.  They wanted to get home.  We started out right after breakfast.  Long lunch in Wallace, ID, traffic in Cle Elum and home in 12 hours.  Three times I heard the boys say, "That was the best trip ever."  My heart sang.  Three short days later we started school.  I hit PTA hard.  Mia was at the house because all childcare shuts down right before school.  She learned a lot about dinosaur bones and I got my girl fix.  And then we went for haircuts.  The boys did not cut their hair all summer.  I liked it.  It was long and soft.  The curls started to show and Nolan didn't look like such an Auschwitz victum.  But they wanted it cut before school and and they wanted to go to the barber.  "Buzz cut number 3 please - all over" Nolan requested.  And the curls gentlely tumbled down.  As I watched I remembered, scan is coming.  School is coming.  How am I going to balance PTA co-President with chemo?  There is no coach for Nolan's basketball skill camp.  I could do it, but what if I have to go back?  And then it was done.  School started, PTA has been BUSY, and my scan in on Tuesday the 10th.  All with a haircut, we continue.  The break over.  Damn, it was a great summer.  Love, Ang

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

In my house....

So, I write to you one month since my last post.  Quite honestly until now I have had nothing to post about.  Most of the time, if I have something to say, I MUST say it.  If I do not, it haunts me and literally keeps me up at night.  There is was last night again.  So, here goes.....The weeks have been moving along - Camp Barachah (faith based adventure camp with Carter and Ethan) DONE; Camping at Lake Chelan with John Knox (my church) DONE; Gymnastics camp with Mia since she was tired of trying to teach Mason and Nolan a cartwheel (which they still can't do but I still can since they double dared me on the last day of camp) DONE; Summer Adventures Started; Nordstrom Anniversary Sale DONE; Donna's Cabin in Plain DONE; and then there was Camping on Lopez Island.  Grant and I have not been to Lopez Island in AGES.  The last time we went was before kids when everyone else had them and we had no plans on New Year's Eve.  Oddly, or should I say sleepily, neither did Lopez Island.  This camping trip was a reunion of people Grant worked with when his old company was RETEC.  WOW, there were people there that I had never met and people there that I meet 20 years ago.  How fun - really, I had so much fun.  But, as with anything when you do not see people for a long time, they ask, "And, how are you?  You look great."  Clearly, the bar for looking great is still pretty low since I was wearing my camping gear and didn't wear a stitch of makeup all weekend including the trip over.  I am actually okay if that never changes.  It seems to be working in my favor.  That is when I realized that I had not talked about my cancer in a month.  Sure, I have seen my oncologist, but we really don't talk about it, just my blood, when I need to come in again, when to remind him to order my scan, etc. And I know Grant I and say things like, "Well, do you think you can coach two soccer teams again?  If I get through my scan in August, I will be good.  But remember last time, that didn't work out and life stunk."  So, I know it comes up, but it is such a task oriented thing now.  Of course, I told each person that asked that I was doing well.  In addition, the person I have been going to chemo with was on this camping trip.  She is doing so well, and we will be going to the last chemo session for her on Thursday.  She will then be done with chemo.  (Now, by her calculations she will not be done until after the following Tuesday when she starts to feel better.  I can give her that.)  Thank Goodness.  She has been a rock star, stead fast, and she wears hats BEAUTIFULLY.  Towards the end of the weekend, people started talking to me about going with her and how good it was for her and for me to do it.  Now, please do not get me wrong, I appreciate that and I acknowledge that it may look like that to someone that has not done it.  But here is the deal.....that is the way it is done.  Pure and simple.  When cancer shows up on the doorstep, people come out of the woodwork and help you.  I have never been alone.  NEVER.  For example, are you aware that I have menu options from more than I can count of certain food contributors?  Yes.  I actually get to choose my food.  Do you know that Sarah, who does the food calendar, has actually been told that they are upset for not getting on the calendar enough?  Do you know that I have filled my freezer four times with premade dinners for six months through donations?  Do you know that Elaine Miller has been to over 80 chemo appointments and only misses them if she is out of the area?  Do you know that she is the one that believed I was having an allergic reaction before anyone else when I stopped breathing during chemo all those years ago? Do you know that Karissa has had the WORST JOB ever for six years and is mad when she can't take me to disconnect?  Do you know that my kids know my parents house better than I do?  Do you know that my neighborhood knows every time I am in chemo just by the pattern of cars in the driveway?  Do you know that my dentist has not only waved every cancellation penalty but offered free treatment to me when I lost dental?  Do you know who many billing people have gone to bat for me?  Do you know how many docs call me directly without an appointment?  Do you know how many emails addresses I have for my doctors - I am talking DIRECT...that is unheard of.  And, do you know that I have raised just under $10,000 for the American Cancer Society because of all of you?  Yeah.  With cancer, you are not alone and either is she.  I have been honored to be with her at her treatments, enjoyed doing big lunches before she goes so that I know she is full of whatever she wants, and I will forever be there for her 24 hours a day/7 days a week.  She is in my house now as I am in so many others.  So, there, I get to sleep tonight.  Happy Tuesday, Ang

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A friend of mine asked me for a favor

She asked me to write down the things that make is tolerable to get through the summer and not damage your children.  As I always ask for advice from people with older children, she thought that I would be the one to ask.  I thought about it and thought about it.  I decided that before I give her advice, I should test my "new and improved" plan out.  So, I am on Day 4 and feel that I have a reasonable handle on this.......(imagine evil laugh).....  Let's review: The summer started with early dismissal and happiness for all the kids (emphasis on KIDS).  Thursday, the day after, was a tag team of people helping other people out because no childcare was open.  Friday, a bit of the same.  Before the boys and I started on this adventure, I said, "We are going to do Mr. Regnart's Reading Challenge and you will read two books every morning and write about them BEFORE iPod or TV.  In addition, you will do 8 pages and 6 pages of activities everyday BEFORE iPod or TV.  It worked and is still working HOWEVER Mason does 4 pages (supposed to be 8) and Nolan does 3 pages (supposed to be 6) and their reading is barely on track.  Nolan, of course, is on track because even though he is a BEGINNING reader somehow he read the bottom of the library form and understood that the Library challenge started June 1st and he retroactivated ALL of his reading.  Oh, and did I tell you that, all the homework is done in my bed.....while I am in it!  Swimming Lessons started this week.  They are everyday at 10am for two weeks.  We have never done this pattern and we have never focused on swimming.  Our big goal is that they are comfortable in the water and can live.  Thus, we have spent I think millions of dollars on swim lessons and know all the strokes, breathing etc., but we look hideous doing them.  So, now that we are part of a swim club with a swim team, they are like, "Wow, interesting, and oddly effective, but let's try this....."  Whatever - I am fine with it.  I have never cared if they love swimming, I am not looking for Olympic athletes in swimming, etc., HOWEVER, this became a big issue to them today because we saw some friends from school.  Actually one of Mason greatest friends, and I learned that she is in Y5 level.  We are in Y2.  So, in the truck on the way home, I said, "Hey Mason, we are not switching to 11 o'clock because we would not be in Alexis' class anyway.  She is in Y5."  Mason replies with, "Why is she in Y5?'  "I don't know, but her Dad mentioned that they started at Federal Way and they were REALLY particular is stroke."  "Why am I not in Y5?"  "I don't know, we went to the Y and I never really worried about it."  "Why........."  And that was it.  SERIOUSLY?!??!?!?!?!  A tolerable summer exactly lasted three and one quarter days.  I lost it.  "Mason, are you kidding?  Can't we just be happy that she is a good swimmer?  Are you kidding me?  Should we walk up to her and say, 'Hey, I bet I could kick your butt at hockey cause I am pretty sure she doesn't play.  Oh, and then there is skiing!  You and Nolan ski better than I did at 18 years old.  Let's talk to her about that and say, Eat my powder!  Should we do that?"  "No!", they both cried.  In my mind I was saying to myself, "Hey, my Mom is way better at cancer treatment than your Mom, so SUCK IT!"  I know....I am also proud it did not come out of my mouth.   Conversation over.  We are sticking to Y2, and we are happy for Alexis that she is in Y5.  NOT OPTIONAL.  Mason and Nolan are going to Champions (childcare) tomorrow and Thursday after swimming.  So, here is what I have to say to my dear friend, "Put them in camp and childcare enough that you can stay sane. Let go that you have things that you want to do.  Let go that you think you should have it all.  Be real and be forgiving (to yourself also) because this gig is tough and being there to nip crap like the above in the bud is actually important.   Don't get me wrong - I appreciate my time and being the one doing all of this.  I am one of the only ones NOT on their phone during lesson because I want to see them every minute (and I still have a dumb phone), but still sneaks up on you and at the oddest moment demands you to gig.  Sorry for failing you, Ang

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Thank you and tonight.....

First, a huge thank you for everyone that donated to the Royal Runner Relay for Life.  Stewart and his team WAY exceeded their goal and I am, again, so proud of them!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I was there during the luminary ceremony.  If you have ever been, it is pretty powerful.  I met my girlfriend at 9:30 and walked with her, but for my team, until 10.  I got home at 11:30.  In the front of my mind, were all my friends and family that I have won, and lost, the battle of cancer.  Yes, Bob too.

Anyway, on to other continues on and I am amazed at how many people know that I am the next PTA President  and on Leadership Team with NO OFFICIAL announcement.  Followed by, I am not the President until 7/1, but that has not stopped anyone from telling me their opinions about "stuff".  Don't get me wrong, but I am happy at my school and feel that it is really well run....and sometimes those can be the most interesting of creatures.  Luckily, I was raised the way I was, and I had a lot of experience with "lay in the weeds and wait", "see which way the wind blows", and "if a train kills you on the tracks, you should have heard the train".  If this is what it is like BEFORE 7/1, can't wait until after! was the last day of school for my boys.  And Mia was in the mix today as it is Wednesday.  We left school, horns honking, people waving, a general party.  All the windows down in the Explorer and the window in the back up for the kids to wave to all of their friends.  (I do have an approved third row in the Explorer with approved seat belts for those 8 to 12.  I haven't COMPLETELY lost my mind!)  Got home, made lunch, ate lunch, and two our the three kids wanted to read their report cards.  Nolan had the best one, but let's remember, it is Kindergarten.  How hard is that?  He did have 72 sight words, but come on!  But seriously, he did great.  His teacher was PERFECT for him and she has the BEST way of phasing things.  Listen to this:  The First Semester she said, "Nolan is a hard working and focused student.  He is a pleasure to have and is well liked by his peers.  He is respectful and follows rules well.  As he grows in school, I would like to see him become more of a self-manager and become less concerned about managing the behaviors of his classmates."  Can you say, "Mind your own bees wax!"  Second Semester was this, "Nolan has shown some growth in regards to self-management however still needs to work on this skill a bit.  He also enjoys challenging authority and finding gaps and loop holes in directions and requests that he is given.  This is an impressive skill at his age, however he'll need to learn how to manage it and determine when it is OK and appropriate to use it.  He is a hard working and bright student who will continue to do very well in school."  I am saying, "A bit?, ya think?, how the heck do I fix that?, DAMN she is really good!"  Wow, I hope he gets someone that can read him like she could in the first grade.  Then proud of her.  Her grades went up almost in every subject and her progress in reading was amazing.  She worked hard and sometimes she hated it, but she still did it.  Well done.  Mason wasn't willing to share his grades.  They were good, but lately he has struggled with talking too much in class and putting excessive work in his artwork and not finishing assignments.  The talking, well, he comes by that naturally.  Every comment I got in school was, "Pleasure to have in class; talks excessively in class."  What can I say, it is in his blood.  All of us tried to reassure him, but he was steadfast.  I have always told them we are a team and we help each other with our weaknesses by using our strengths.  Mason could not go there.  Hopefully he will learn to trust the group.  This has been the first time he has struggled with something.  I think Mia will get him through it.  Nolan is still on "I am perfect, except for that minor annoying behavior of challenging EVERYTHING.  Oh, is that ANNOYING?"  So, then they played to their hearts content.  Mason's class CD playing in the loft while he is doing is Lego.  Mia and Nolan coming up with games and chasing each other around the house,  and me doing Box Tops.  At 6:00, they walked Mia home and then stayed for tomato watering instructions and games with Mia's Dad.  Dinner, shower, prayers, plans for tomorrow, and then bed.  Grant has hockey tonight so they begged to sleep with me.  I said okay, but I wasn't going to bed yet.  The ran to the bed and while I folded laundry, I listened to them sing, "Sunshine".  I sang that to both of them went they were little, or now when they are upset or sick, but I learned a different last line when I visited Laurie YEARS ago when Duncan was a baby. Instead of, "Please don't take my sunshine away" you put in, "And I love you more everyday."  I like it better.  They sang themselves to sleep and, as I finished folding, I paused in my thankful moment of the craziness of PTA, washing lunchboxes, Grant going to hockey, and life...without cancer.  I take my friend tomorrow for her second of four cancer treatments.  Half way there, and a lifetime to go.  Happy Summer, Ang

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More Birthdays....

Life is going fast these days.  The kids are ready to get out of school, Nolan understands Peter "the pan" likes being with other pans at night, and I have a birthday on Sunday.  I always get, not melancholy, but very pensive during this time.  My after my birthday in 2007, I started chemo for the first time.  In 2008, I was at the Kent Relay for Life, recently in remission, and walking with Bob.  It was the last time I would see him.  On my 2009 birthday, the nurses pulled the last chest tube from me after bilateral lung surgery.  (I can still feel that.  It takes your breath away.)  In 2010, I celebrated my birthday in remission.  In 2011, I was finishing up chemo right after my butt surgery and in 2012, I was back in chemo.  Today, I am in complete remission.  The American Cancer Society's pitch is "More Birthdays".  I have a special fondness for the Relays.  I have been honored in so many and my list of luminaries gets longer every year.  However, Kent is probably the most special.  This year, like last year, my girlfriend's son, Stewart, is leading the "Royal Runners" Relay Team at the Kent Relay for Life.  He is waging an uphill battle as Prom was scheduled on the same Friday night.  So, he is working with half of his team and missing his own senior prom, but still going strong!  His Mom is even baking and frosting sugar cookies for student fundraisers (I get one with Brown Frosting - cool right?!?!?!).  Quite a team!  If you click on the link, you will see me in the picture from last year. I am going to be giving $50 dollars to this relay and I am asking you to give what you can.  $1000 is made up of 50 $20 donations.  Tomorrow, Thursday, I will be at the cancer center helping a friend of over 20 years get through her first chemotherapy.   She needs more birthdays also.  Friday is the Relay and I would love to see him reach his goal of $1500...please donate for all of those who have fought, waged, won, and lost, to cancer.  Here is the link...

Thank you, Ang

P.S. I did my donation under Stewart's name and for some reason my name is Klarno?!?!?!  Can I still blame chemo?!?!?!?!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Peter "the Pan" and my scan results

Get it?!?!?  He is naming his pan now!  Oh and my scan was CLEAR!!!  Frickin' A I am FINALLY on my way!

Monday, May 20, 2013

A boy and his pan

Nolan has always loved to be in the kitchen.  His first blisters were when he was old enough to stand at the stove and I was make a pot of pasta sauce and he tried to look inside grabbing the side with both hands.  Doesn't matter how many times you tell them, but once they burn their hands, it don't happen again.  Well, for the past two weeks, I have had to watch the Bialetti Aeternum video on the Bed Bath and Beyond website.  It is ceramic cookware.  Finally Nolan insisted on buying it.  I told him he could not buy a set.  He protested, so we went to the store and he got to feel all the pans.  Clearly, the 8" fry pan was the only one he could hold with one hand (his requirement).  "Do you have a coupon?"  Why do they ask me these things?  I said, "Use this one, it is the best for this purchase."  He read the directions with Dad and "made" lunch.  Pasta with Peas.  The pasta was already cooked so it was about cooking frozen peas in A LOT of butter and adding pasta.  Dare I say, but it was good.  Usually we add LOTS salt.  For dessert, he topped sauteed marshmallows with cinnamon sugar over ice cream.  When he wanted to do cookies, I said, "Sweetie, you can't bake with that pan."  His response was a firm, "That's a bummer."  I have to say it has been a good distraction for me...scan is tomorrow and I have been a little on edge.  He slept with it last night and
I have to bring the pan to school to show his teacher this, my question is, when do I send him to therapy?!?!?!?!?!  Happy Monday, Ang

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Amazing Remodel

Have you ever watched the "Amazing Race"?  At the end they say, "Twenty nine days, 17 countries, have won the Amazing Race!"  So.....49 days, six subcontractors, five LARGE checks, 52 decision, five additional work are the winner of a NEW LOFT AND SECOND BATH!"  We are home.......Mia - thanks for the Welcome Home sign on the garage!

First, thank you for all your wonderful comments.  Apparently, living with my parents 20 minutes from school, two parent surgeries, one remodel, one spring break, and getting elected to Co-President of the PTA keeps one busy.  In addition, I did not have easy access to a computer with a REAL keyboard and I am not talented enough to do it all with one finger on the iPad!

I could blog about the last seven weeks for about 52 pages, but I someone (probably God) blocked direct access to a real keyboard to save you, the reader.  So, I will give you the highlights.  Spring Break - Grant, I and the boys went to San Diego.  We have learned we need to get to sun during the nine month blah period in Seattle, so when I saw that we had a Spring Break, I bought tickets to San Diego.  We had rough plans, but nothing we couldn't change.  Here is how it went:  Landed in Long Beach, got our car, went to Anaheim for two nights.  The idea here was to go to California Adventure to see Cars Land.  We arrived late on Sunday night, there was a McDonald's next to the hotel that was RIGHT across the street from the Disneyland Gate.  Check in, get food, bathe, fall asleep.  BTW- my kids are snobs.  They went in the room and said, "This is where we are staying?!?!?!?  Isn't it a little small?!?!?!"  Over "dinner" we explained to them that this was a great place since we were staying in the room for about 16 hours and that MOST people would be happy for it.  It was a clean room with comfortable beds, a very nice pool, free breakfast, right across the street from the gate!  (Since Mason and Nolan were born we have always stayed in the Resort because of my energy, proximity, naps, etc.....that CLEARLY must change.)  Mason and Nolan just looked at us and Nolan said, "Is the room in San Diego better?"  Grant and I rolled our eyes and changed the subject.  California Adventure was amazing and a very cool thing happened.  We went over to the "Soarin' over California" ride to get a fast pass.  The Fast Pass time was smack during the parade.  Since we only had one day, we had to choose - Parade or Soarin'.  While we were standing there discussing it, a worker approached us and asked how many were in our party.  We looked at her like, "Whaaa?"  She said, "Your son just helped me out and here at the Resort we like to reward that behavior, so I was wondering if you want to go on this ride right now?"  "YES!  Wow, thank you!"  I look at Mason assuming it was him and he smiled, but the worker corrects me, "No, it was this one."  Nolan?  Are you kidding?  Okay, REALLY disturbing that I looked at Mason and he was willing to take credit - note to self!  Nolan basked in the glory of it all and, really, he deserved it.  We didn't have to choose and we got to see everything because of a little kind thing he did.  I knew he had it in him, I just was not aware he was openly sharing it with others.  San Diego was awesome.  The hotel provided free full breakfast (including waffles) and dinner which included ice cream.  The boys were thrilled!  Hotel accepted.  Legoland, Seaworld, the Beach, but the most surprising thing we did was the USS Midway.  I had NO idea that it would be so much fun for the family.  We did the Family Audio Tour and the boys filled out their "Wings Certificate".  We had lunch there.  They serve beer - BONUS!  We practically shut the place down - not the bar.  Before our flight back, we saw some friends we had not seen in over ten years.  Nice visit and then off to the airport, where our flight was delayed.  OMG - people are bizarre.  So, there was something wrong with the plane and customers started demanding to know what like they could help out.  Grant and I were like, "We would like the ENTIRE plane working, fixed by people who know what they are doing, so we will happily wait."  Others immediately got on the phone or computer looking for other flights.  One person was on the phone saying everyone at the airport was "freaking out".  If her definition of 'everyone' is her, then yes, that was a valid statement.  The flight was an hour and a half late.  BIG DEAL.  San Diego - one of our best vacations yet.  Then back home, well, Grandma and Grandpa's house.  The boys were getting tired of being away.  Grant was getting tired of being split.  I was just tired....then Grant picked up my prescriptions and they forgot to give me my hormone.  I was out of my hormones.  See, I take three prescription regularly and an anti anxiety sometimes.  The first is my blood thinner - two preloaded shots everyday; morning and night.  Long term chemo leads to blood thickening.  The other two are a "cocktail" because as you may remember I was VERY sad about two years ago, saw the cancer psychiatrist  and she came up with a combination of hormone and anti-depressant.  Her explanation was chemo has killed all of my hormones and long term effect of chemo on the brain just is not studied and documented yet.  I think that is because we are SUPPOSED TO DIE. :)  It was Friday.  Pharmacy is closed until Monday.  I missed Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and finally took them on Monday night.  I thought I would be fine.  I was FAR from fine.  And then I got the flu.  Further from fine.  I was a mess.  Two sleepless night, more crying than I can tell you, a husband that would hold me even when I didn't want to be held, and 8 lbs later, I was on the mend.  I am not EVER going without those again and Grant will never make that mistake again.  Poor man.  Last highlight....when you go back to your parents house, you remember my Dad clipping my nails as a kid.  OUCH!  I used that so much with the boys that when Nolan and I were talked about fears he said, "I know your biggest childhood fear - GRANDPA CLIPPING YOUR NAILS!"

Since we have been home, we are moving back in...hanging pictures, shuffling, redecorating  which will continue into this weekend and next week.  All I do is try to have one more room NOT look like a bomb went off in it.  It is slowly coming together.  I am sleeping like a baby again.  My boys are sleeping better too.  Our smell is coming back to the house which is neater than you think.  The windows have been open this week and the lilac is blooming right next to the window.  I saw Shelly (cancer buddy) who I haven't seen in MONTHS as I was going to acupuncture and when we realized it was each other, we hugged like we had come back from war.  Which we have.....  And with my life on pause for the remodel and taking care of my folks, I return to my life and my cancer and my scans.  Saw Hank on Tuesday; scan on the 21st.  Exhale, pause, breathe   I am home.  Happy Friday and to all the Mother's our there - Happy Mother's Day!  Love, Ang

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Questions of life(?)

My Mom is home and doing very well.  I on the other hand have some questions....

When my Mom was gone, I did all the cooking and still will until she is back to eating solids which could be a few weeks.  So, why is it when people get older that they label and wrapped things in the freezer that it literally take 20 more mins to cook because of the layers of Saran Wrap, ziploc bags, rubber bands, and tape OR it is just throw in the freezer with nothing.  Consequently, Chicken Enchiladas took 1 hour longer just to get the chicken unwrapped and we ate spaghetti with TERIYAKI meatballs.  At least, Mason loved it.

While I was visiting my house, my neighbor was in there and said to me, "This all makes cancer look easy doesn't it?!?!?  At least there are support groups for that."  I nodded in agreement and thought, "Where is the support group for the mom of a relocated family due to remodel with aging parents in and out of doctor appointments who has worn her yoga pants (that have never seen a class) inside out for three days and just realized that she had gummy bears for lunch - her only meal of the day?"

And lastly, why did my Dad call me while he was waiting at home for the washing machine repairman when I am getting Mom discharged from the hospital to say, "Are you going to have enough time to get her, drop her off, and get your kids from school?"  What I wanted to say was, "I think so, but how is you calling me in this moment helping me?"  or "OMG, I have kids!?!?!  Thanks for the reminder!"  I didn't, but I must have said something because a hospital employee immediately asked if I could be helped and she, bless her heart, took me to the pharmacy and to the parking garage.  In hind sight, I understand he was trying to help, but you know.  He did sincerely thank me for all the help today which made we feel good that I didn't go with first response.

WHEW.  But, in the end with all the stress, craziness, and choas, it still beats cancer, but does make real life look pretty challenging!  Happy Wednesday, Ang

Monday, March 25, 2013

Two Wins Today

Today I woke up with Hannah's butt (my cat) in my face at 3am.  I got up at 4am to get ready to take my Mom to the hospital with my Dad.  At 7:15 I say, "See you later!" to my Mom, find food and coffee, sit at the hospital until my Dad gets back from him radiation appointment, go to to parents, see the remanence of Grant leaving the casita (parent's guest house) with the boys, shower, and go to an appointment with a friend that for the past few months has caused her bowel issues and 15 lbs of weight loss.   On the way, I get a call from Dad.  Mom did great.  Surgery went without a hitch.  Win.  The appointment with my friend was great also.  Her blood pressure was normal which it hasn't been in weeks, anxiety gone, and by the end, even though we have a lot of tests to do he said, "You know, I have to tell you.  I don't believe this is going to be life threatening."  EXHALE.  Win.  As I was working with the kids tonight, I had to go to the casita for something.  As I was walking, a breeze hit my face and it was warm.  I looked up and saw the cherry blossoms starting to bloom and I ever so slightly smelled spring.  Today, although exhausted emotionally and physically, was good day.  Win. Win.  Thank God.  Happy Monday, Ang

Friday, March 15, 2013

Real Life and Remodeling

So, some of you, well maybe most of you knew that Grant and were going to do a remodel on our bathroom and our boys bathrooms upstairs; however, our line of credit was pulled and that project went away.  See, I was at a point then of, "Hey, I should just spend all my Life Insurance money now, since I am going to die and get a bathroom that I love."  I know the logic of letting life insurance pay off the mortgage and line of credit is a bad idea, but cancer is illogical, so I was going with it.  Well, Grant's company did well last year and we have saved enough money to do the project that we really needed - a loft for all the boys stuff.  Right before Nolan was born, Grant was itchin' to move.  I said, "No!  We are having a baby!"  Right after Nolan was born, Grant was itchin' to move and start a company.  I said choose.  Clearly, you know the choice.  And, as he worked in our house asking me to keep the boys quiet - really, they are 1 and 3? - I thought, "I wish we picked the house..."  But all those days are long gone.  CRETE has been started, Grant is happier than he has ever been, I am in remission, and we got enough money together to get our loft and work on the boys bathroom.  Our bathroom will wait again.  Amazing how priorities can radically change when you believe that you are not dying.  The project started Thursday morning.  I was advised that I could not live in the house.  I asked my parents to live with them at the compound (their place).  My plan was to leave the house at 7:45, stop by my contractors office to pick up some countertop samples, drop the kitties off at my parents guest house, and go to bible study.  WELL.....clearly, my life is not my own any more.  Sound familiar?!?!?!  Cancer controls me, and now this.  Anyhoo, my contractor, whom I adore, had me in a "handing off the baton meeting" (What the heck?) and I was there until 10.  So, much for Bible Study and have you ever seen the faces of two cats that have been left in a car for two hours.  I was actually a little afraid of them.  The meeting was good and needed to happen.  I learned things that they were going to do that I was like, "AWESOME!" and then, "Yeah, no we need to paint the ceiling cause Grant and I do not do that anymore."  I got to my parents place hungry with tons of stuff to do (picking out flooring, appointment for cabinets, paint decisions, etc. etc. etc.) with two pissed off cats.  Mom took me to lunch because she wanted to try the Doritos Taco at Taco Bell.  I was like, "Hey, Cheryl will be thrilled, but I need to order it al fresco!"  I rested in the afternoon, picked up the kids, did the evening routine, and went to they casita (guest house) to collapse only to get sucked into HGTV because we don't get that channel and stayed up way too late.  The cats decided they were fine around 4am and were racing around the house because I sprayed catnip on their toys before we left.  Rethinking if that was a good idea, I was up watching HGTV AGAIN.  It is a sickness. I then slept through the alarm, raced out of bed, in the shower, should have washed my hair, but I thought, "No, it gets curlier with oil and dirt right?"  (It does.   Wow, I am going to exploit that!)  Run over to the main house, get the boys, Mom hands me a latte and off to childcare because I am meeting with two people - Gary, the flooring guy, and Roger, the cabinet guy.  Meet with Gary.  Pick out hardwood, vinyl, and even granite from the bone pile out back.  Meeting with Roger and discover that he cannot get a the cabinet in on time.  Go to the house to talk to Russ who is running the job.  Find out that we found water damage from the boys bathroom in the wall that it shared with the living room.  FABULOUS.  Review the entry to the loft, and we look at each other like, "What do the plans say?!?!?!"  Do the logical thing, but it takes Russ explaining it to me three times for me to get it cause apparently, I am slow.  Let's be clear, he did not say that, I did.  Turn off the furnace because is has such a draw it pulls the plastic off.  Okay, we are done.  Starving, my Mom and I go to a restaurant and I get a beer.  Go back to the house, shop for other cabinets online, watch HGTV while I am doing it, and try to get over my exhaustion of it all.  I make the call about open the wall for the water damage because I can't get a hold of Grant.  Whew, today is over.  Real life and remodeling is a challenge!  Happy Friday, Ang

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Comedy (?) of errors....

Well, the surgery went well.  My surgeon is pleased and very pleased that I didn't get a hole in my lung since I am prone to that with the slightest nick.  There was some bleeding which obscured the view (and I am thinking how could there not be bleeding?!?!  I don't know how you people do anything!!!!).  We will not know the final results until three months from now at my next scan.  Karissa was there the entire day with me and even really got into the explanation of the procedure.  When he left she said, "That was really nice.  He is really good."  I know.  I am sooooooooooo lucky.  Because my doc is my doc and he is so careful, I spent the night in the hospital.  What I nightmare that was.  Karissa was going mad with the people around me because I was in the "fall wing" where they are all old, disoriented people who have a tenancy to fall.  So, all the beds have this pad on them that screeches the "Mary had a Little Lamb" song every time they get up.  And, by the way, they are like jack rabbits.  I got up to go the bathroom, unhooking, unplugging  dragging all of my crap with me.  I think I went four times in 18 hours.  They were up like 4 times every thirty mins.  HOLY COW!  One family, brought their ENTIRE family that night and then the room on the other side of me had a bed that was a translating bed.  It actually translated language but in a horribly robotic voice.  When the nurses saw me coming, they ordered me earplugs (which I used for 14 of the 18 hours I was there).  I thought a couple times that this experience could convince me that dying young may not be so bad.....  They tried a new painkiller on me that was a narcotic   That did not work well.  I vomited and vomited and vomited.  So, we ended up with giving me the anti nausea drug and then 40 mins later giving me the lowest dose the computer would accept for the narcotic   I am so glad the surgery went well because recovery is a bitch.    I forgot how much it hurts when somebody actually burns your lungs.  I will not be back to normal as quick as I thought.  I got home noon yesterday, Karissa fed me and her which goes against her principle of "will work for food." but she told me I could pay her back and I fell asleep on the couch.  PEACE finally.  At 1:30 I got a call from my Mom's cell phone.  She started the conversation with, "Angie, I only have two bars on my phone and I have a lot to say to you...."  Basically, she was being admitted into the hospital for severe anemia and tested to check for internal bleeding.  So, after I got a hold of all of her other docs to let know that this was happening, what they needed, etc., we determined that this was good to get the results sooner to get her blood up to par for her surgery on the 14th.  I had one hour to figure out what to do with the boys....Dad always taught me to prepare for the worst and Plan B went into action.  Call Dad,  he picks up the kids before going to the hospital for Mom, Grant is in Portland, Coleen, our neighbor, comes over to take care of the kids until Grant can get home at 4:30 when she has to leave to pick up her sister at the airport.  Dad shows up white as a sheet, send boys to make pictures for Grandma, sit Dad down to tell him that Mom is not dying they are doing this so that we get result and solution in 24 hours - not two weeks.  The is the only way to get the results pronto, muy rapido.  Coleen shows up starts working with the boys.  Dad has color in his face. I send him to the hospital.  Called Donna to tell her what is going on.  She is part of Plan C When Shit Hits the Fan Plan, and I tell her she is on deck.  I look at Coleen and she says, "Go to sleep."  So, I did.  I woke up and Grant gave me dinner.  I asked him about today and Plan B, Champions (After school care that has been put on alert as of last week), and Beckey (Mia's Mom).  He said, "I will call her tonight.  It will all be fine."  I emailed the teachers in the morning.  Plan B is in place.  I can rest.  Then Mom calls from the hospital and says the machine to do her test is broken so she is on hold.  Dad is like, "Are we just supposed to wait around forever?!?!"  Yes, Dad you are and you will.

THANK YOU TO ALL THAT HAVE COVERED GRANT AND MY BACKSIDES IN THIS.  What would I do without you.  Back to bed.  Love, Ang

Sunday, February 24, 2013

February - here and gone....

Wow, February has been crazy good and good crazy.  It started with my trip to NYC to see two of my besties.  I had the greatest time and one day we just sat in the apartment for most of the day and watched Homeland.  Scary, but true.  Then, home for the scan and you all know how that went - pretty darn good!   Nolan's sixth birthday, half days at school, parent teacher conferences, Valentine's Day, 3 day ski trip to Big White and 3 nights in Kelowna with Rob and Jen and the girls, and back.  Things I learned:  never under any circumstance make your own pinata for your child's birthday party - Nolan had the UGLIEST PINATA in world history, when you make a pinata buy the PINATA MIX.  Lolipops don't make it - poor children.  Teacher Conferneces - my kids are smart and love school.  Valentine's day is cute now because my boys want to be my Valentine and marry me.  They really mean it because Nolan does not say anything he doesn't mean.  Skiing with your family is awesome.  So, this is the first ski trip that we skied as a family.  When they were babes, Grant and I would split a ticket and trade off, then they were in morning lessons and we would split in the afternoon based on level, etc.  This year we skied all together.  Four of us all on the same lift, four of us through the trees, four of us laughing together, and me saying things like, "Mason where are your ski tips?!!?!?!?  R-i-g-h-t...they shouldn't be there."  The kid is weird.  He is great down the slopes but in the ski line and getting off the lift he is a wreck.  He is lookin' around - ski tips everywhere.  We ended the day with, "Okay, your only goal on this run is to not fall in the ski line or at the top.  Achieved!  Nolan missed our chair once because he had to ski with poles and would not accept help.  The lift didn't even slow down, he was scooped up and put on the next chair.  The people he rode up with were great.  A screaming child was quickly settled and became a trooper.  AND, he didn't dork around with poles again. Things that make you go...HMMMM.  Skating both days in the outside rink in Kelowna brought some tears to my eyes and when we got in trouble for playing around with hockey sticks and pucks, I explained my husband was just trying to relive his childhood with his kids.  Patrol eased way up and we didn't get in trouble.  I love Canadians for that.  Good food, good friends, good wine.  Nothing better.  Then, the long drive back and all of us zoned out with Nolan talking, talking, talking.  He finally said, "Hello?  Can anybody hear me?  Am I talking to a wall?"  It sounded so much like me we all started laughing.  Back in the States for Mason's last hockey game, and his teacher came!  WOW, was he happy!  And now today, going to Fred Meyer, arrends, accupucture, etc.  My surgery is tomorrow at 10am.  Somehow, everything got approved quickly.  So, off I go to pack up the boys, get ready, and have a lot of red meat tonight so my blood work is up for tomorrow.  I may have to spend the night at the hospital, but that is not all bad.  I will be fine.  Everything will be fine.  I sure liked February.  Love, Ang

Monday, February 11, 2013

Scan results are....

I know I have not been on the radar for a couple weeks and I have lots to talk about, but the thing most people want to do is, "What the frick were your scan results?!??!"  I got them today.  I met with my Cyberknife Dr. and then I saw Hank.  Well, my scan was not perfect, but darn close and NO CHEMO.  The two spots that they worked on in November are doing nicely.  Cyberknife doc very happy.  Hank very happy.  BUT, there is a new spot.  BUT, they think they can get it with a procedure that is done on the same path as Cyberknife, but a bit quicker.  Remember back to the end of October when they placed my markers for my lung tumor in the muscles outside of my lung?  Well, this procedure, is a larger needle to the tumor and then they either freeze or heat it up to lethal temperatures killing it immediately.  BOO YAA!  The doc that placed my original markers will be doing this procedure also.  He called this afternoon believing that he would have a very good chance of success, but explained that he will most likely not get the margin that he wanted on the side of the tumor next to my heart.  Little does he know all my drama about vaginal leakage and margins during my tumor removal down south!  So, I am like, "Gotcha.  I understand that part." as I am taking a helicopter out of Mia hair.  I will probably have to be in the hospital overnight without complications and a few nights with (chest tubes, bleeding, and such).  I was like, "Okay....sounds right....gotcha......sound good......"  I must have sounded bored, because he was like, "Are you sure you don't have any other questions or concerns?"  I said  "Nope, I do want you say.  You and your group have given me almost six years.  So, you say it, I do it."  It is so cute because this doc HATES compliments, so I give them to him. It is kinda mean I think, but it is just precious when he goes, "Uh, well, okay.....uh, I think.....yes, I think....that is will call me with questions, yes?"  "Yes, of course.  Have a great day!"  So, back to insurance and all that has to bring.  I figure we got two weeks of that and it will be in March sometime.  EXHALE.  Yeah.  YEAH ME.  Now, to homework!  Happy Monday, Ang

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

PTSD, PET/CT, PCP and back to PTSD

The last month has been great - truly.  I have had so much fun, thought beyond one week, gotten my strength (and my vanity - I would like to say I am a bigger person, but there it is, I am not.) back.  For Christmas, Grant got me a heart monitor watch.  It is EXACTLY like the ones that I trained with when I first got out of chemo and had to do physical therapy to learn how to train my heart.  See, your heart takes a beating in chemo.  The medicine is pumped into you and it goes to your heart first.  It is the most efficient way to spread the chemo quickly with the least damage to your veins and arteries.  Your heart being a strong muscle can handle it better than any other organ, but not without cost.  So, when I was out the first time, I had to go to PT to learn how to rebuild my heart strength slowly.  This brings us to PTSD.  The day after Christmas Grant had the watch set up and I got geared up to go for a walk.  I told him exactly where I was going and that I had my cell phone and that if anything happened I would call him BELIEVING that I would have a heart attack right in the middle of the street.  I did no hills and I went for a short walk.  They say the truth will set you free.  I say, the truth will make you feel like an IDIOT.  My heart rate never got above 102.  No risk of heart attack there.  Grant chuckled when I told him thinking I am sure, "Well, so much for immanent death."  The next day, I did the hill out of the valley.  I was in my target heart rate and things were perfect.  In disbelief, I walked faster and harder.  I was told I am never allow to get my heart rate over 160.  I was thinking, "Does my heart rate go to 160?"  I got it there once.  Truth makes you feel like an idiot.  HOWEVER, I now walk the kids home from school and don't panic about it.  I guess my heart like the rest of me has somehow gotten used to this.  I am not sure if that is good, or sad, but I choose good for now.

Hank gave me the month of January off - like really off - no doctors, no appts - no nada. Then, my Doc's nurse from Cyberknife calls and says, we need to set up your PET/CT.  NOPE.  NOT DOIN' IT, NOT CALLIN' YOU, NO!  Three days later I think, crap, I should at least start the referral process.  That can take WEEKS.  That brings us to PCP.  I never had to have a Primary Care Provider, but I did have a guy in Kent that I went to.  I met with him and said, "I am not sure I would take me on.  Here is a list of my doctors."  Handed him the list and even he says, "Wow, that is a lot."  But, to his credit, or stupidity, he did.  I am STILL in process of the referral, but it is going and when I get that done, my scan will be mid February.  Then we got back to PTSD.  It is strange how it creeps up on you.  Mainly, it happens when I am shopping and I say, "I will stop in there and get this.  Who knows when I will be able to get back here."  Truthful answer, the next day or the next day or the next day.  With both kids in school and me out of treatment, I am so free, but I am still in the pattern of being so cautious.

So, now remember how I started this post, "The last month has been great - truly."  And it has, but my great and most peoples are different.  Example:  My parents are old.  I still have a Grandma that is alive.  Medical issues are at our door step - and knocking.  My mom will need surgery, but from everything I can tell it will be fine.  My Dad will be doing some treatment, but from everything I can tell (and I have been to the doctor with him), it will be fine.  My Grandma went to the doc and she is fine despite what the Heath Center tells us.  I may have to sit them down and say, "No, she is ALWAYS cranky, mean, stubborn, difficult, and cantankerous.  It is actually a good health sign."  So, here is my "great" part.  My family (Mom and Dad) were all on the phone after Christmas and we talked about their medical stuff and Grandma.  There was not one mention of me.  When I hung up I said, "Well, that was refreshing."  I am WARPED.  My Mom sometimes says to me, "I do not know how your do this.  Plus, all of this takes so long, why can't we just do the surgery and get it over with.  Plus, I hate waiting in the waiting room so long, can't they be on time?!?!"  My answer, "What choice do I have?  Let's get a good diagnosis before we start hacking at you and the longer you wait the less severe your case is - that is a good sign.  It is a bad sign when you just walk in and they see you, and the next day another doc sees you, and the next day another doc sees you.....get it?"  My Mom has been a trooper like always, but my Dad, well he, is pouting.  One day was I talking to him and he said, "I still do not want to do all this."  NOTE - ALL THIS is about 3 months.  I turn around and look at him.  He says, "I suppose I am not going to get any sympathy from you."  I reply in the most smart alecky way I can, "Y-e-a-h, noooooo."  He responds with, "I still don't want to do it."  By this point, I am exiting the living room saying something like, "Cry my a frickin' river Dad!  I have a stuff to do!"  Now, on this one, I have to say I  am not warped.  I would have done that anyway.

Oh, and I am reading again.  I remember when one of my cancer buddies - the one with the lego cyberknife - started reading again.  He read the Book Thief.  I had read it a few years ago and I remember it like yesterday.  It is in one of my top ten (of which I only really have five).  But, the chemo has cleared and fatigue no longer keeps me from reading.  I read the Night Circus (five stars) and I am now, on Auntie Jane's recommendation, reading Where'd you go Bernadette? with my bookclub.  I love reading.....

Last thing, my boys are hilarious   I am laughing most of the time.  I could go on about them for days, but I will leave you with this.  Mason and Nolan watched the movie "Frakenweenie" by Disney last evening.  It is about a boy's dog that he brings back to life.  Well, Mason took it hard and cried and cried for Africa.  I tried to make him feel better and thought he just needed to sleep.  Then this morning, he comes into my bed to cuddle and is STILL sad.  I had tried all the usual things - nothing.  I wanted to say, "Remember when we were starting to take Africa to the vet and you kept talking about when she would die so you could get kittens?!?!?!?"  Heck, Africa was in the car with us while this was going on!  But, I didn't, being a parent teaches you restraint cause I was never like this before!  Anyhoo, I sat him up and said, "I have to tell you something."  BIG BREATH.  "Sometimes things are just meant to be and no matter how hard to try to not have something happen, it does.  Remember, when we got Molly Moon and Hannah June?  Remember that day? (He nods.)  Well, Mason, I need to tell you that I had gone to the shelter before I took you and your brother that day.  (His head tilts.)  Let me back up....after Africa was gone and we had Cutie Pie, I was happy with just having one outdoor cat.  I petted her twice a day, no litter box, no nothing.  I was in treatment and I was tired, but you boys kept at me about getting kittens. So, I went to the shelter and made sure there were no kittens that met all of our requirements before I took you."  (Head up and eyes burning into my skull.)  Okay, okay, not my proudest moment...let me finish....40 mins later, we showed up and after looking and determining that there was nothing, we were going to leave, and the woman said, "Oh, two kittens just came out of surgery, they will be available tomorrow."  Remember that Mason?  (He nods now smiling.)  Remember how those two little kittens meant all of Mommy's requirements - under six months, sisters, not black.....(Now nodding happily).  Well, see?  I tried hard, but there they were, and how could I not listen?"  "Listen to what Mommy?" he asks.  "Listen to Africa on God's lap, telling me it is time to let go and love those two kittens.  (pause)  Now, you see, they were supposed to be ours.  To ignore that would not be right."  "Do you think Kokanee (our other cat that died a few years ago) was there too?" he wonders.  "No, Mason.  She was too much of a spaz.  Now, get ready for school and no more of this.  Life moves on and we have to move right along with it. Oh, and by the way, Mommy was sneaky right?  Did it work out for me?  (He shakes his head now smiling.)  Yeah, well, it won't for you either!"  He hugs me and kisses both Molly and Hannah (who have congregated on my bed with us during all of this) on the head and then skips downstairs to eat.  Me?  I am holding my hand to my mouth trying not to make a sound.  Tears streaming out of my eyes.  PTSD sneaks up again.  "Can I have cereal??" Mason calls from downstairs.  I wipe my tears and call back, "Of course, you can."  Life moves on and we have to move right along with it.

Love, Ang