Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Hey y'all!  Here is my Christmas letter, but please pay most attention to the email that I sent NORAD Santa Tracker on Christmas Eve we go!!!!

2015 is over?!  Well let’s get to it before it is 2017!  We lost my Grandmother, Virginia, in May, but truth be told she was ready.  Not sure God was...  I work with my parents each week because, well, my Dad is losing his memory and my Mom has never paid a bill in her life.  She is doing swimmingly with all the finances and, despite my Father’s fear, she is not spending it all.  Aging is hard. When I met Grant, I said, “I understand if you want to live to and fro, but I have responsibilities, and they are here.”  All of them are coming due.  Thank God for my good fortune.  Mason is playing goalie for hockey.  He is doing well, but it is hard.  No matter what is going on with the team…you still are the goalie.  Grant is one of the bazillion hockey coaches.  Nolan is doing soccer and basketball, but has his eye on touch football.  We knew this a long time ago when he took Mason out at the shins and I shuddered.  OMG – he is a football guy.  I am still over involved in PTA, but that will change as my President office term has run out.  I’m sure I will find another job – there is always more to do.

Yes, my kitchen flooded.  Yes, Nolan got stiches right next to his eye.  Life happened.  But Nolan can see, and my kitchen will be all that I wanted it to be – EVER.  You can’t want what you wish for, you have to want what is granted.

Best in 2016, Angela, Grant, Mason, and Nolan

Okay, so that was the Christmas Letter.....but Christmas Eve came, Nolan fought sleep because he wants to "KNOW", and then thank you letter to all the people at NORAD.  There response.....MERRY CHRISTMAS, and with your permission I would like to share this with our team.  Permission granted.

So thankful for you.....

My boys are 8 and 11.  I was diagnosed with Stage Four Cancer colorectal cancer that spread to my lungs when they were 4 mos and 26 mos.  The Christmas was 2007 was supposed to be my last.  Life became all about staying close to home, yet every year you brought the world to us. 

We watch EVERY year.  Even though my 11 year old knows all there is to know about the ins and outs of Santa, my 8 year old's last words to me before he feel hopelessly asleep tonight was, "Where is Santa?" sleepily.  I said, "Iowa...."  And as he floated off to sleep, he whispered, "He is close Mommy...."

Over 90 treatments of chemo, bilateral lung surgery, more surgeries to my pelvis than I choose to track, radiation to my pelvis and lungs, several ablations to my lungs, and some other radiation I can't even remember, I am still here and we do NORAD Santa Tracker every year.

Thank you for being some of my greatest memories that I never thought I would see.

Merry Christmas.  Better get to bed before Santa gets here (Seattle, WA).


Angela Clarno
Mason and Nolan's Mom

Merry Christmas.....

Grant, Angie, Mason, and Nolan

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Confessions of a Cancer Survivor

Kitchen remodel, Neely O'Brien PTA, Council PTA, Kent Elementary PTA, Kids, House, bills, parents, basketball, hockey......repeat.  Where is there time for cancer?  Remember when Hank told me I am a successful story of a person managing a terminal illness?  Sometimes, I have no time for it.  Kitchen floods, birthday parties, trips, skiing, trips, family, and every once in a while I hide in my house with the cats on the bed watching the Hallmark Channel - Mason and I are LOVING the Christmas movies.

So, I was scheduled for a procedure for my esophagus on the 14th with one doctor - procedure two of three or four.  I had a scan on the 15th, so I emailed Hank and said, "Hank, so I have the varices thing on the 14th....can you get what you need from that?  So can we do something after the holidays?"  Hank's normal response to email is one to three words.  "Yes."  "Good."  "Okay."  "See you Tuesday."  To this, I got a paragraph all in CAPS about how he needs to monitor my tumors, he is on vacation the week of the 7th and I have to have the scan on the 15th, but then see him the next week, blah blah blah.   Okay, first my tumors are not the size of my head - which would allow for CAPS to be used and I was thinking, "Do I manage and illness or Hank?!?!"  I responded with, "Okay, okay already - stop yelling at me."  I emailed him the schedule of my scan, but the ladies up front would not move my appointment to the week of Christmas...."You have kids - enjoy your time.  His caps lock is on.  Do not worry."  LOL.  And I emailed him  the ladies response too.  I got back, "Okay."  Back to normal.  Managing Hank, check.  Esophagus doctor moved to January.  TUMORS STILL NOT AS BIG AS MY HEAD.  La la la, I go on with MY remodel, Neely O'Brien PTA, Council PTA, Kent Elementary PTA, Kids, House, bills, parents, basketball, hockey......repeat.  I think I am fine.  The week of my scan comes.  I think I am fine.  I yelled at Nolan - oh, he deserved it but not with the extra bite it had.  I sleep like crap, I watch Hallmark Christmas movie which just remind me of all the Christmases in Chemo, or radiation.  I could hardly move and I certainly wasn't teaching a boy the day before the difference between a travel and a double dribble.  I do not cry, but I am not right.  I want to ask for help, but seriously, this is just a check up.  Help for what?!?!  My head?  I am supposed to give my worry to God, but does God know which shoes are for basketball, dress up, school, and the river?  I haven't been able to make it to Bible Study.  I actually need Bible Study.  Sometimes I think God make me busy to show me how much I need him.  My kids are so immune yet sensitive.  When I drop them at school and say, "Have a good day!", they reply with, "Have a good scan!"  Seriously, who does that?!?!  What I have accepted is that the anxiety will NEVER go away.  I will always be a wreck which means I am not strong like I thought I was.  I have a weakness and that weakness is not getting more.  I, like many Americans, want  it all.  I want to see my kids grow up, see them graduate, see them marry, see my, if I am so lucky, grandchildren that I was spoil and love and follow around like hungry cat.  They can do no wrong and they do not even exist yet.  I want to smell behind their ears and rock them till they fall asleep.  I want it all and every scan threatens that.

Today was my scan and then I talked with the contractor and then I was helping Kent Elementary with their Winter Party.  I screwed stuff up, but of course corrected it because people are kind and forgiving.  Lucky for me....  I stayed the entire time of the party, cleaned up, and then asked to leave to say goodnight to my kids.  Of course, it was granted.  More to do tomorrow, but that is tomorrow.  I come home to a pile of dishes (not because Grant will not do them - I told him not to - he has had a rough schedule), wash them, curse my kitchen flooding, got the boys to bed, and then sat down to watch something before bed.   I noticed the phone blinking.  HANK.  I check the messages.  "So, dear, your scan is stable - we are doing well.  See ya tomorrow."  And then the tears come as they are right now.....I will see him tomorrow, but he knows my anxiety and calls when he can.  Three more month of MORE.

Merry Christmas.....

Happy Tuesday, Ang

Monday, November 16, 2015

Things happen in threes, right?!?!?!

A friend of mine who is a chemo nurse firmly believes that all things "difficult" should end or postpone while people are in cancer treatment.  Yes, Laura, I am talking about you.....  So, things are humming along and I am going on a trip with my Mom and Aunt which we used to do ALL THE TIME, but then I had kids, and then I had cancer, and then....well life just happened.  So, week before last, we (my Mom, my Aunt Donna, and I) went on  a cruise.  It was mainly to see if we could go on a cruise with our male counterparts.  Answer, no.  But, yes, for me and all the boys.  There was tons to do for Grant and the boys and they would LOVE IT.  Grant only because the boys and me because I did not have to plan a meal for seven days.  I watched the kids on the cruise and they were literally "blissful".  Exploring, experiencing, ordering amazing food, and loving it.  The room we had was unbelievable.  We had a huge balcony and I opened the door to hear the water all night.  One night things were rocking' and rolling' and I loved and respected it.  It was amazing.  I gained amazing respect for the cruising industry. 

So, I have a calling plan of 100 minutes each month to Canada and Mexico.  Clearly, we purchased this for Canada, but when we went on the trip I was all, "Yahoo! I have cell phone service!"  Reality, questionable at best. 

During my trip, our kitchen flooded.  Not a little, but a lot, like, mold in your walls, dry wall gone, flooring gone, cabinets gone, flooding.

Grant's first text to me was, "Kitchen is doing well after the flooding, Nolan's face is healing well."

Wha?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  Nolan's FACE?!?!?!?!?!  Word to the wise, photos are data and when you go to Mexico, you do not get data....... so the email with pictures of Nolan's stiches did not come through, but the one with "Nolan's face is healing well." did.  I WAS A FREAK SHOW!  I called and called and called.....finally I got through.  It was minor, by his eye, but okay.  I, of course, had half of his face missing and one ear gone.  So, WHEW!

Then Grant told me about the kitchen.......he told me to have a good time.......I did.....but I started buying know, the good stuff.....

I got home to a mess of a kitchen.  No floor, no drywall from two feet down, no bottom cabinets, really half a kitchen.....And then lift set in....PTA, hearing testing, WE applications, bills, reimbursements, life......

Bless his heart, Grant helped me today with moving the spent cabinets in the garage and moving the food in.  Technically, we can get reimbursed for all the dining out based on the fact that this is our kitchen.  That is great, but I cannot eat out that much.  So, this weekend, we moved everything around and I have found all the big stuff outside of my baking sheets......seriously, how hard are those to find in a mound of boxes!?!?!?!?!

Needless to say, I have been beyond busy.  If I have missed your email, forgive me.  If I owe you a phone call forgive me.  All I do is insurance, contractors, picking cabinets, sinks, hardware, We have to get new blinds, redo the kitchen table, restain everything.  This in addition to my life that is too busy and my new years resolution is to well, stop saying yes.  Friday all the volunteers got sick for the Hearing and Vision Tests at school.  I got there and we were an hour behind.  The nurse was nervous we would not get it all done in that day and I was like, "I am here, I will stay, but we WILL FINISH today."  We caught up by 12:20 and we finished early.  550 kids through vision an hearing from 9:30 to 1:20.  BOOM.  Sometimes you just have to get 'r done - no excuses.  Maybe I should do motivational speaking with the Seahawks......

I have today without any contractors, insurance, etc. just me and by boys.  It starts up all over again tomorrow!

Happy Monday, Ang

I have tried to upload the pictures, but have been unsuccessful.  Just imagine my kitchen with no drywall, floor, no bottom cabinets but the countertops are up with lean tos.........

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I may have underestimated this procedure.....ya think?!?!

So, yesterday, I was busy.  I got caught up on paperwork all day.  Mine, Neely's, PTA Councils until I had to get ready for my procedure.  I was not worried.  I was like go in, come out and back to life.  Well, not exactly.....

So, everything went well, I woke up after the procedure, got dressed, vaguely remember them telling me it went well - banded two medium and one large.  No complications.  The nurse told me again, no drinking, no signing documents, just an easy night at home.  Oh, and eating may be hard but just for a couple days.  Soft mushy food would be best.  (I made Beef Stew in the Crockpot.  Bad choice.)

We get to the car and I think I owe my Mom a million dollars because I think she paid for parking and my trip through McDonalds.  I never go to McDonalds, but I wanted a milkshake and fries.  The milkshake was DELICIOUS.  Like better than anything I had ever had in my life.  AMAZING.  Better than people, money, God, anything.  Clearly, a lot of drugs were involved.

Get home, and my milkshake was gone.  I was so sad.  Like super, super sad.  Like I wanted to cry sad.  The French fires hurt going down - first sign that had been delusional about this procedure. 

I am now just tired.  I say good night to the boys.  I wake up in the night and say, "OMG my throat hurts and my lower rib cage aches like a mother.  Second sign that I had been delusional this about procedure.

I get up in the morning and take my phone and start texting and, while I am thinking I am going downstairs, I run into my clothes in my walk in closet.  Third sign that I had been delusional....well you get it.....

So, I start to the switch the day all around WITHOUT me in it.  Boys walk to school (who knows where I would have taken them!), Mom picks them up and takes them to their doctor's appointment (write SIMPLY worded letter to doc about the switch), I cancel on my parents helping them with there bills (probably be in foreclosure if I did that!), and get Grant to take Nolan to soccer practice and where I am meeting another PTA member to sign checks with me (or him).  He was not thrilled with this, but when I looked at him he was like, "You just let me know and I will do it." with a "there is nothing in the world because you are the love of my life and I would do anything for you" tone.  Bettter.

Just when I think, I got this, I know this, "This don't have me"..........It has me and owns me.  FINE.  Hail to it, but I'll be back, maybe even tomorrow!!!!!!

Happy Wednesday, Ang

Sunday, October 25, 2015


So, as most of you know from my last post, I have to have "surgery".  Lets remember that I am now an old car jalopy and I need to be patched from time to time.  I have enlarged veins at the end of my esophagus cause by the slowing of my liver (from chemo), so they have to go down my throat, band them off (like lamb tails which my grandparents would appreciate), two by two by two.  Every six weeks, I will do it again, to inspect the last two and band off the next two.  Yes, this will be a grind, but still better than chemo.  Depending on how many, we could be doing this until April.  Up side, best sleep I get.  Good thing morphine is a restricted substance because I am tellin' you, OMG, AWESOME!, I get the news that I am a lifer of blood thinners, I have to have this "therapy", I can never really be free of the doc for more than 30 days, I morn that, and then, well then......I live........I start my shots again.  I am on a new medication that slows my heart rate and my pulse.  The first day they both race......I contact my docs.  "Lay down....they will correct they say."  I do.  It does.  But then I sleep until noon and can't stay awake driving.  Yeah, "This ain't gonna work." I say.  So, I decide to take it at night.  Better.  Wow.  Being on Beta Blockers and Blood thinners is a trip.  No need for morphine, but I prefer to not be responsible for people on it, y'know?!?!?!?! They are now fighting on who can monitor it best......Ct of Epi?  Let the games begin.....

Couple things I need to mention.....I will be fine.  Cancer is at bay.  Jalopy still going.  Yes, I have issues.  Yes, I go bike rides with my boys that any human should survive and I can't see when I get home.  Mason parks my bike while I lay on the floor with my legs up until sight comes back and I feel, well, normal.  I do not know why.  I do not care.  I am not going to bother the docs.  I am, shall we say, terminal.  Why bother them.

My Mom is like, "Have you told all your doctors that you are going on a Mexican Cruise with me and your aunt on November 1st?"  "Nope."  "I think you should."  "Yep."  "So, are you going to."  "Yes."  "When?"  "After my procedure on Tuesday."  Awkward silence.

I have to give it to my parents.  They have to do this as I am an adult.  They have no say, they have to power.  That has to SUCK.  Sometimes after my Mom has lectured me she says, "So, what are you going to do?"  I respond with, "Somehow, I have managed to get this far, I will do what I need to."  Honestly, I would kill me if I were my Mom.  Bless her.

So, this week, I am going to get ready for my cruise.  Tuesday, I am going in for my first banding.  The rest of the week is normal except for the Memorial on Friday because, surprise surprise, other stuff happens in life.......

Love and understanding....Ang

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cancer is a funny thing....

I had a scan on Wednesday with my normal reader who has been with me the ENTIRE time (except the last scan).  He has not always liked me, but we have come to a shall I say friendship?  He does his best all the time  -  once I challenged him, but we got through it.  Kudos to him.  As most of you know, I do not look for a fight, but I do not back down to one either.  In the end, he is my guy.  I choose him.  So, I went to my scan on Wednesday knowing he was working.  I got my results.  I am still on cancer watch, but Dr. Rogers' is not convinced that the microscopic change is worth anything in my left lung.  I concur.  We can ablate it.  I have done that before.  I love that doc.  I just really do not want to go back to chemo.  Sad thing is, I love those nurses.  I see them from time to time or on Facebook.  Thank God for Facebook.  It is hard to go back to the treatment center.  The smell gets me.  Purell makes me vomit.  Literally, instantaneously.  I use a brand at, you guessed it, Fred Meyer. Germ X or something like that.

But.......last time, I convinced Dr. Kaplan to let me try to be off of blood thinners.  He reluctantly agreed and with a two month scan he thought it was a good trial.  I was changed from two shots in my tummy to one baby aspirin everyday.  I LOVED IT.  My lower stomach was always bruised, I was tender and tired.  Six years of shots to my tummy - twice a day. 

Results - my cancer is still on watch.  Maybe a millimeter growth on an old spot, but not sure because lungs are fluid and moving.  No PET Scan for me - I am 24 (?) over the limit.  And, truly, I am okay with all of it.  If it grows, I think we all know it is cancer.  Hopefully, we can ablate it, which is so much better than chemo.  Result, I am still on watch, but I got another curve ball....

Because of all of my chemo, and I am assuming life, my liver has slowed.  I have mentioned this before.  It still functions fine, it is just slow.  I think I would be too after 90 hits of chemo and life.  Let's face it.  I am lucky to have my feet hit the floor everyday.

Because of the slowed liver function, I have enlarged veins at the bottom of my esophagus, called varices.  Another doc has been watching those for 3 or 4 years...maybe six, I don't know.  Okay, so here is the bad part.....because I stopped the blood thinners, I have a blood clot that is complicating the varices.  This is to the point that Hank is not happy and concerned.  You have to understand, I have been with Hank for eight years thinking I was going to die after one year.  He never said that, but he did say to me at the beginning, "You will die and die soon without treatment."  Again, he refused to give me odds, but he did say they were against me.  To his credit, he believed and therefore, I did.  So, when he gets all emotional and such, which literally does not happen ever, you seriously pay attention.  I am serious, his concerned, worried, happy, and pensive look are literally the same, unless you really know him.  Hint:  For patients that have him, if he calls another doc on the phone in the room that you are in, things are bad.

Don't get me wrong - I adore him.  We have a real relationship beyond cancer.  He has helped me see my boys grow up and is happy to see them when I bring them which is RARE.  In fact, the entire building loves my boys.  PET/CT save rice crispy treats for them when I come in.  Angie and Anthony at the front desk - LOVE THEM.  They know all their sports and want to know how they are doing.  I am so lucky.  I got into the cancer center and it is like Norm going into Cheers.  Literally how lucky am I?!?!?!?!?!

Anyway, it has been super sad for me.  I was under the false allusion that I was done.  But, you see, Hank told me I had a chronic condition - which means forever.   Apparently, I didn't hear that, or I did not want to.  I had actually played with the idea that I would take my boys across the US like our friends in Australia did and teach them about US history.  Sad part - I just realized that I will never not be in the presence of a doctor for less than a month.  What was I thinking?  I am not normal.  Why did I think I could escape? 

So, here I sit.  I was at bible study today and everyone had such normal prayer requests.  I did not want to go but they asked me twice and they are part of my tribe, so I blurted out all of it.  I am such a Debbie Downer.  I am always the one that is well, sad.  I wish I was the praise and the light.  I get that I should be thankful, but wow, this is a journey. 

So, I have to start my shots again.  Check.  I have this new medication. Check. And I have to see my other Dr. on Tuesday.  Check.  Probably surgery.  Whatever.  Check.

Next scan in two month - Dec 16th to be exact.  They are following me.....and I could not be more grateful.

Love, Ang

P.S.  I am sorry I did not blog earlier, I was numb......

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

What Cancer Prepared me for......

So, we are a month into school and, as usual, I am beyond busy.  This is the PTA's time to raise money, raise awareness, and, well, raise the dead.  I have had a BBQ for 1000 which I ran out of food for except hot dogs and grilled onions, a book fair that looked like a war, and I am in the middle of a Fall Fundraiser (which by the way you can contribute is the BEST....MIXED BAGS!  OMG!  I was such a skeptic and now a fan!  Check it out at
I just spent like a million dollars!  Plus, if you order online, you can see the sale items!  No tax, no shipping and if you order $75 or more you can have it shipped to you for free!  Put in Mason Hainsworth and Friz for the teacher before October 5th to have it count for Mason.  Don't worry - Nolan had it last year and got PLENTY of stuff!

Anyhoo, I digress......  but do I?  This is my life now.  As soon as the Fall Fundraiser is done, I am on to Box Tops even though Heather is doing it for me......then Spirit wear.....but I am doing Spirit wear for the Kinder school life is a....well.....blur.  I find it funny when my friends say things like, "We are fundraising for a sign!"  I am like, "We are fundraising so kids can go to Waskowitz.  So that they have Scholastic Magazine.  So that they can have a Science Night.  So that they can have a shirt for their team."  I have been up against PTAs with a budget of 150,000.  We are at 20,000 of which I do 10,000 in coupons and trade.  Do not get me wrong.  I love my school - we just do things... well, differently.  We also go with the program.  Our parents rarely complain - we just, well, do it.  I LOVE that. 

Anyway, on to me, I am so boring, which I love, but I don't.  I was suppose to have a scan on Friday, but I could not do it.  Alana, my cousin, is having a candle party and I wanted to go.  I know that sounds crazy, but one of my best friends wants to go with me.  I never see Sherry and if I have a scan I will probably not go on Friday night.  PLUS, Alana has offered to take my kids with her kids and hubby to dinner.....HUGE FOR MY KIDS.  They LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, their cousins Nick and Joey and would do ANYTHING to go to dinner with them.  So, my scan is on the 7th.  Yes, am I worried.  Yes, am I freaked out.  Yes, I am a freak, but y'all knew that before.  I am just trying to maintain.  The last four weeks have included all that I mention but also two boys fevers of 103 plus, Grant's two colds and my "not feeling so good". 

But here is the thing I want to say......this maybe be hard for some, so stay with me......maybe I was suppose to get terminal cancer.  I don't get the term remission.  Apparently, mine was too advanced and it is more likely than not to kill me.   That said, I have to say it has calmed me a bit.  I have perspective that I would have never had.  Parenting alone gives you that, but maybe I needed more.  Okay, so this is a shout out to my college roommates.  They know me the best and have all the secrets of why I cannot ever run for public office, but did they even think I would be okay with having a small vacuum by my DRYER because there was so much sand from "Fishing at the river" that it went through the washing and ending up clogging the dryer.  Okay, so the worst part of this is that I ACCEPTING THE SAND WAS CLEAN IN THE DRYER. Okay, so my college roommates are seeing my head spin around on my neck.....yeah, I agree.  It has been an adjustment.  I should send a picture, but I am not that good.

When I was first diagnosed, I was so mad at God for giving me kids that I cursed him.  I was like, "Why give them to me and then make me die."  Now, I know the answer.  It was to make me fight.  And now, that I have a whole "new level of chaos, dirt and paint touch up", I am ready for the journey, but the paint still bugs me......

I am proud of me, but it has been a journey.  We all are.  Bless everyone of us in our journey.

Happy Tuesday, Ang

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

School is about to start......

So, the excitement of school is beginning.  Heck, I am excited!  I excite easily, but the new principle at my school said to me (while I was organizing stuff for the new year), "Hey, do you want to say something in front of all the teachers?"  They were in an all staff meeting and they were going to give me a microphone.  I had my baseball cap on, flip flops, but I was pretty sure I showered, so I said, "Heck, yeah!"  Bethany Larsen - you should be cracking up right now!!!!!  So should you Patrick Regnart!!!!  I gave them a brief intro to PTA, thanked them for taking my children soon, and told them about the free gift with membership to the PTA.  Forms to enroll were "right next to the sign in sheet".  "Sign in sheet?!??!?!" teachers proclaimed.  I said, "Yes.  Well.  Okay.  I am not your supervisor, but there is a sign in sheet at the front desk you may want to SIGN IN ON....and sign up for you PTA membership at the same time......"  The new principle was AWESOME and said, "Okay, I do not know what I missed, but yes, she is correct, sign in at the front desk."  I am starting to love her......and yes, it is because she said I was right!  Last time she gives me a microphone.....

Anyhoo.....I should give you the good, bad, and the ugly of the summer.  Good - our Four Corners Trip.  Amazing actually.  I love our family and I feel so blessed to be part of it EVERYDAY.

Bad....when I threw all the boys in the neighborhood out of my house because they were bored.  I was cleaning house, they were in my way, and (imagine) they did not want to help?!?!?  I stuck them in the garage to see if they could find inspiration from the street hockey equipment, scooters, bikes, sand toys, etc, etc. etc.  When I went out to get a mop, they were all propped up against the freezer and said, "There just is not much to do."  So, as I read in a David Sidaris book, I kicked them out of the house and said, "FIGURE IT OUT."  Thirty minutes later, I put out two fishing poles (one in a horrible line mess), a net, and a tackle box.  Remember, I am locked IN THE HOUSE.  I have disengaged the garage door and they keep asking to come in which I ignore.  Kyle says, "I know how to use those (fishing poles)!  Let's go."  Boys follow.  Remember, I live next to a river that has salmon and a bike trail.  I have a huge play structure in my backyard.  There is a tree house in my neighbors yard that is FOR US.  HOLY COW!  Anyhoo......all four left for four hours.   When they came back, they were covered in sand, wet, laughing and talking about fishing.  One of them even quoted, "Best day ever" and two others agreed.  Yes, I worry about them in the river - but honestly it is too low to care this year.  Yes, I worry, about them being gone so long, but I can hear their squeals from my office window.  Yes, I worry, but not enough for them not to live.  This is a young boys play land.....I will not take it away.  No devices, no TV, no nothing, but life.  Pretty cool.

Ugly....there really is none.  I need to get to the gym.  I need to get back to my program.  I miss my friends, bible study, etc.  I miss my life sans boys.  I have gained weight.  I have dealt with family issues, whatever, that is life.  I believe that they blood clots are back in my lungs, which they probably are not, but the mind is a powerful thing.  But the ugliest was when Grant took Mason to work for a half day to do my PTA copies and then a Mariners Game and Nolan was at Camp Barachach all day and I did not know what do do with myself.  That was sad.  I had to research it.  I settled on making breakfast, watching a movie everyone else would not want to watch, and scrap booking (FINALLY) the last eight pages of Nolan's 2013.  But you know the beauty?!?!  The beauty was that I was not the first on call.  The boys were with people that could care for them without me and for the first time in months, I relaxed.  IT WAS AMAZING AND WORTH THE UGLY!!!!  And, I finished Nolan's 2013 - yeah me!

Happy summer, happy school year, happy Wednesday, Ang

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Scan results.....

It is FINE.  Nothing to worry about and only to ponder.  I am back on "WATCH".  I have three old sites in my lungs that apparently look "plumper".  Okay, stay with me.....this is in the beauty of the art of survival.

Fact:  Three tiny old spots look "plumper".
Fact:  I have a different Radiologist reading my scan. (I ask every time I get one.)
Fact:  I have been on WATCH before and it has meant squat every time.
Fact:  There is a level of error here because we can only do a CT scan.  Remember, PET scans are reduced to 3 in a lifetime.  I have had 24.  I am a little over,  y'think?!?!?!
Fact:  If I breathe different in the scan, I can have different results.  What do ya think the chances of that happening are?!?!?!?!?!

Do I like being on WATCH?  No.  I also learned that I was having fluid back up into my stomach from my liver.  Okay...okay...I need to do my Milk Thistle, my exercising (My Health App looks PATHETIC!) , and stop eating bread and eggs fried in bacon grease.  GOTCHA!  Summer is bad.  I am awful in the summer.  Need school to start so I have a schedule and stop eating bacon!

So, Hank gave me two choices:  1.  Run around and freak out and get a PET - which would be hard with insurance.  2.  Have another CT in 8 weeks.  Number two PLEASE!  I have been down this road before.  When I was looking at my scan while waiting for Hank, I came up with I have no cancer, but I am pretty sure I have scoliosis.  Clearly, not a doctor, but I am pretty sure that was a curved spine.  Anyway, since I was only eight weeks from a scan, I asked if I could forgo and try a different blood thinner than my shots twice a day.  OMG!  He agreed and said, "Okay, take an aspirin everyday and then we will see what the scan says."  I practically fell over (hard to do on a table), because I have been taking two shots for six years and now I am on a aspirin.  I have paid $4000 a year for those shots and now I can try pennies a day on an aspirin?!??!?!??!  It is like a pay raise - BRING ON WATCH!  The good is balanced by the bad and the ugly is balanced by the beautiful color of money!!!!!!!!

Next scan October 2nd.

Happy Sunday, Ang

Monday, August 10, 2015

So this is what summer is....

The last few weeks have been filled with great stuff.  Mason went to his first overnight adventure camp.  He dumped me like a hot potato....just the Mom.  He was very respectful and kind but he really was ready.  He grew that week.  Like really grew!  We went to the San Juans.  San Juan Island and Lopez with all of Grant's old coworkers (that camp).  The picture is from Lopez. My big blunder was tracking the weather on Vashon Island.  For those of you that do not know, Vashon is really South from the San Juans.  Luckily, I sent the boys with enough clothes, but I am now the proud owner of a Friday Harbor Whale Museum Jacket.  Stylin!  Right now, I am sitting at the pool with what I kindly refer to as my Village:  Mason, Nolan, Kyle and Hunter.  Hey are running past playing something between tag and hide and go seek and soaking (sp). Pretty sure someone should be disciplining them...

One thing that Grant and I did was go up to Kelowna and spend three nights with Rob, Jen, and the girls.  It was Rob's first of six sessions of chemo for stage three rectal cancer.  Chemo was actually postponed because of a schedule mess up but it gave us a day to play.  I shopped with Jen and Nadia and we got our toes done.  The boys got haircuts.  And we ate amazing burgers and drank beer the night before chemo.  The next day everything went as well as it could.
Robin did amazing....wait, boys were disciplined!  Whew, I can stop hidding by the tennis courts.....okay back to Robin, did great and still stubborn which is an asset.  When Grant and I left the next day, I had pretty toes, a new flashy Orange purse, and a lot of weight off my heart.  He is going to be okay.  They are going to be okay.  Five treatments to go.  Exhale.

All my love, Ang

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My Grandma's Service

My Grandma's Service was today.  We did lunch at the Falls Terrace in Olympia.  It was a restaurant she liked and she loved doing lunch.  The following was the "program" that I made for it. 

Myrtle Virginia Randolph
January 20, 1919 - May 17, 2015

Raised in Ewan, Washington, Virginia loved basketball and graduated at the top of her class; however, she regularly received below average marks for “Deportment”, something she embraced with both hands.  She was the first of five children of Hollis Dickerson and Lady Faye Smith.  She is survived by her son, Keith Clarno married to Sharon Clarno of Federal Way.  She had one granddaughter, Angela Clarno married to Grant Hainsworth of Kent, WA who brought her great joy with two great grandsons, Mason (10) and Nolan (8).  She was hard working, fierce, and always willing to help those she loved. 

Other facts:

Her lasting love was Floyd Randolph, her third husband, who nicknamed her “Toughy”.

She had another son.  William Cary Clarno unfortunately died within two weeks of birth.  While she rarely spoke of him, in her final years she referred to her “boys”.

She “Lettered” in High School Basketball.

Two prize possessions – her Bible and her Crossword Dictionary.

Famous Virginia Quotes:

“Thing.”  “Thing” was put in the place of all words she could not remember.  When she started to lose her memory, she never said “thing” again.

“Good ol’ days?!?!  What were those?!?!?  Think of life without plastic!?!?!  Really, think of life without plastic?!?!?!”

“So, if you think you should do something that sounds like a great opportunity and someone else says that is ‘stupid’ and you listen to them, who is really stupid?”

She will be missed, but never forgotten.
Everyone had beautiful stories about her, and they were genuine.  The most touching part was at dessert when both my boys ordered and finished a piece of carrot cake.  There was plenty on the menu, but that was her favorite that we brought to her each birthday and they remembered.
Maybe I did something right, or maybe it was Grandma.
Happy Tuesday, Ang

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Nolan, we are not blending!

The family and I just went on a trip to four corners.  For those of you who know four corners, you get it.  For those of you who don't, it is this ridiculous trip to a place where four states come together.  I was there when I was young, like under 15, and it was like a crooked sign in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE AND YOU TOOK A PICTURE.  See below.....

Grant has never been to the Southwest.  This is a bit of an issue with him.  I have been to the Southwest a ton.  This is not an issue with me.   I love the Southwest.  And so goes the story.....

When I got sick, I never thought I would see the Southwest with Grant or my kids.  I didn't think much of it, because I knew Grant was interested and I knew he would take them.  With my good fortune, Grant and I decided to go, but it all depended on our friend in Kelowna that was fighting cancer.  Although I had planned the trip; all the reservations in place; we did not pull the trigger until we knew he did not need us.  We really did not know we were going until June 18th.  We left the 20th.  So, for most of you, you were like, "Wha?  She is out of town?  Where is she?"  I apologize for that, but in the end, maybe I do not.  We had an awesome trip and that is what life is all about, right?!?!?!?!

Kids got out of school on Thursday at noon.  We left on Saturday at 9:00am.  We stopped in Mountain Home Idaho for the night and dinner.  Nolan was in heaven because they served popcorn BEFORE dinner.  There was a pool and it as 95 degrees.  We landed in Moab, UT the next three nights.  We did Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.  It was HOT.....highlights were the woman at the local history museum.  Could not have someone more excited about Moab history....I LOVED her.  We also 4 wheeled out of Canyonlands.  Okay, so, I am going to say something I will probably get a cross eyed look when I do, but Grant is GREAT at starting the 4 by trip, but when things get rough, he gets nervous to the point of bailing.  He is a Toronto City boy.  I am not.  So, when we get "stuck",  I take over.  I love and trust my Grant, but I know when I have to literally take the wheel.  The boys get this about us.  I love that.  Maybe someday they will respect their wife to take over the wheel as mine does.  It really is an honor.  My friend is Rick, who told me years ago, "Ang, you are lucky you have him and that he lets you do what you do."  When he said this, I stared at him and I think he thought he might die, but it was true.  Grant gives me a very long leash.  A padded room if you will.  I get to do 98% of what I want and when he says no, I am fine.  Truly.  I could have married no one else.  So, as we were staring at the rock that had fallen over the trail, he said, "I am sorry.  We should have checked with the ranger station."  At the same time, I said, "I just need to see if there are tire tracks on the other side of the rock.  If so, we can probably do it."  There were and we did.  The boys, as usual, were like,"Mom, should we be doing this?!?!?!"  I responded with, "This truck was ACTUALLY DESIGNED to do this, if not now, when?!?!??!"  Exhale.  We made it.  The road was washed out, we were in the thick of it, but we made and that is all that mattered.  We did it - together. 

We left Moab and when to Mesa Verde and Four Corners on our way to the Hopi reservation.  I have been to Mesa Verde with my parents and all I remembered was going by latter into a kiva.  We got to Mesa Verde at 10am and all the tours were BOOKED until 3pm.  There was one place could go that had no restrictions and my only question was, "Can they take a latter down into a Kiva?"  Grant looked at me, like, "Wha?"  But, when I was young, I went down into a kiva via latter and I was never the same.  I wanted the same for my boys - all three of them.  "Yes. Yes, there is.  Absolutely."  We went there.  I took pictures of up and down. Grant is claustrophobic, so he came out quickly, but it was done and we did it. We got to Four Corners which is now a "Navajo Park" so you get to park for $20 and then go to a monument, to stand in line to take a picture that is SURROUNDED by Navajo vendors.  So, I am okay with all this.  I acknowledge all of them, we talk about it, and we moved on or purchased.  I hope that I am training my boys in the respect that they need.  Time will tell.  At the end, Mason purchased some Horsehair pottery and Nolan purchased a Navajo Spear.  I was proud of both of them on how they treated the vendors and their products.  We got pictures and then we left - without fry bread which was a faux pas we will learn about later.....

It was a big day....we breezed by Chinle and the canyon there, which is not visited by many, but HOLY COW it is beautiful!  We got there at dusk and the lighting storms had started.  It was amazing.  However, the amazingness of it all was dampered by Mason saying we were all going to die......  Sometimes he is such a buzz kill!....

So we go on to the drive to the Hopi Reservation.  Have to say, there are not a lot of directions.  There is a P.O. Box on the confirmation and, FYI, none of us look HOPI.  SHOCKER.  Grant was like, "Ang, it HAS to be on this is the only road."  And it was, but four miles after I thought.  We check in.  At check in they tell us that it is illegal to have alcoholic beverages in the room of the hotel.  I am thinking we are going to die over two beers and a couple stupid coolers.  Apparently, my face say it all and she smiled and said, "Just keep them in your car."  Fair enough.  So, we unpack, and I tell Grant to put the beers in the car even after his analysis of "How are they going to know...." We settled in and decided to go to the restaurant for some ice cream.  As we sit down, Nolan says to me (mind you this is the ONLY restaurant for miles), "Mummy, you look stressed.  Do you need a.......wait for seriously...this is unbelievable.........martini or margarita?!?!?!?!?!

The woman in the booth right next to us BUSTED up laughing.  Before I can say, "Nolan this I a dry campus." I come out with, "Nolan!  We are not blending!!!  All the other tables start laughing also.  Before he things he is a regular comedian, I shut him down.  "Nolan, we will talk about it later...." Everyone is SUPER welcoming, especially since we are clearly alcoholics ....

SIDE NOTE - I am volunteering at the library at school this year and we have some canned and dried food for people to take. We also, however, ran out of plastic bags, so I went through them with my boys before I took them to school......There was Fred Meyer, Safeway, but also there were a fair amount of "Total Wine", "Black Cat Fireworks" and even a one from KFC.  I guess we really also drinkers that have a horrible diet and blow crap up.

We spent the night and woke up our Hopi Guide after checking out the museum, met up with our Hopi guide, Gary.  SO COOL.  We learned a lot about the culture, history, and current challenges for the Hopis.  One thing they are awful at is negotiating their goods, "I usually sell this for $40, but I will give it to you for $20."  Where is the pause?  Maybe I want to give you $40.  Even Gary was like, "Well, I told you x, but just give me y."  So, I just told him, "I am not paying you less that z."  Business classes....white man business classes.  I may just make that my mission in life!  Gary thought I was hilarious, but said it probably was a good idea.

Wrapped that up and went to the Grand Canyon South Rim.  It was well, grand.  I have never seen it from the top.  Every time we went it was winter and it was fogged in - no lie - three times.

We then ended our trip in Zion.  AMAZING three days.  The best hike was the River Walk at the end of the road.  You walk for a mile and then river is your path.  When it is 108 degrees, walking in a shady canyon in cool water rocks!  Best hike ever.

We ended out trip taking a vacation from our vacation and just hangin' out by the pool one day, being lazy, and then the trip back, popcorn at dinner in Mountain Home, ID, and home.

The boys did great, Grant drove most of the way, and everything went according to plan.  Road trips are in Grant and my blood - nothing like a good road trip!

Happy Sunday,  Ang

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Mosquito and other things.....

As a child, I was mosquito bait.  As an adult, the same.  Then cancer hit.....chemo takes care of that.  I have not had a mosquito bite in eight years.  Then, on July 4th, we were blowing up stuff outside and I was like, "What are those annoying little bugs?  OUCH!"  Apparently, chemo wears off in TWO YEARS.  That they need to bottle.

Times has been flying by...lots of things have happened, but there are two notable stories that you may enjoy.  One Today......

Parental Joy(?)

I emailed the following to the teachers and staff that were involved with Mason this year.  He had a big year of growth emotionally and I thought they should know....


In September of 2014, a boy named Mason stared the 4th grade in Mrs. Swenning's class.  This year, like all the others, Mason's Mom warned Mrs. Swenning that his tenderness is his best, and most challenging, quality.  Pleasing his teachers and his parents is his goal and in that order - anything less turns to tears. 

Mason was not afraid of computers, he loved them, and learn to hunt and peck the year before with testing.  His access was more limited than he would like, but those were Mom's rules.  He met a woman named Ms. Thompson who showed him more about the Internet he had ever known which he told him Mom all about.....all the time.  Ms. Thompson this, Ms. Thompson that and, "MOM!  Mrs. Swenning said we are doing Hack-a-thon!"  Hack-a-thon would become an entire being in our house, Ms. Kelley would ask if Mason could skip a doctor's appointment (Mason would NEVER think to ask this) because "Hack-a-thon" was there that day.  The Doctor's office was like, "That sounds fun - sure!"  (No fee.  No penalty.  WHO DOES THAT?!?!?!?!)  But it was the joy on Mason's face when his Mom told him he could go back to class that took her breath away.  What just happened?

Mason's was voted onto Student Council and by some small miracle, he went to his Mom and asked if he could spend $10 of his own money on a "Team Tonya" shirt.  "You (the Mom) took her to chemo.  The least I can do is wear a T-shirt. ( Mom bought not only a t-shirt for him, but for herself also.)  He learned about hunger in our own back yard and while he complained in the fall about being tired at NW Harvest, he and all the other students, did not complain once on June 10th when they went again (although some water breaks were quite long....).  Wow, what happened?

Mason was Captain of the 4th Grade Boy's Track Team.  Mr. Furukawa talked to him and later to his Mom about his sensitivity and how, as a leader, you have keep it together and NO TEARS.  Choir was running at the same time and then baseball started.  Last year was the first year that the players pitched to each other.  Mason was a mess.  Yet this year.......oh my gosh, this year, he was relaxed and confident like a version of him his Mom always knew was there, but never saw.  He allowed one man on base each inning (they only have three), struck out the others and it was a shut out game 13-0.  The parents all congratulated him and ask his Mom, "What happened?!?!?!" 

But here is the kicker....the one that made me share this will all of you.  Mason came home and got the Surface (Santa brought the family a Surface 2 which he told me was not as good as the Surface Pro that he had at school), and started typing away.  Then the questions....

"Mom, can you take me to school early on a regular basis?"
"Sure, I can." (I have no idea what he is doing.  I thought it was homework.)
"Can you take me to performances?"
"Sure." (Starting to clue in.)
"Can you carry instruments?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Mason I am quite sure."


"Mom, this is just REALLY important and you have to be sure that you can do all this and I have to be sure you can too!"


"Mason, I will get you to all of it."

The DRUM Application was then "keyboarded" entirely by him, printed by him (and HP), attached to the application with arguments about why he should be chosen to join DRUM, and slipped into his backpack. 

"Would you like me to check it?"
"Nope, I got it."

What just happened???????

Neely did. 

There is nothing I can do to thank you enough.  You can helped create a beautiful boy that is growing up to be a responsible, caring, beautiful young adult.

Forever your fan,

Mason's Mom


Awesome, right?!?!?!  The clouds parted, the sun came down and the angels were singing.  RIGHT after I hit send, Nolan came into my office and proclaimed, 

"Mummy!  I am going to write a petition to stop all homework.  It hurts the environment because we have to cut down trees and trees make air.  It also makes you sit a lot and that causes cancer.  I am going to talk to Mr. Regnart about it tomorrow!"  

Angels stopped singing.  Sun went away.  Clouds rolled over and I think it even started raining.

My head went to my keyboard and said, "Of course you are Nolan......" 

Story Two Tomorrow - "Nolan, we are not blending!"

Happy Wednesday!  Ang

Sunday, May 17, 2015

What I thought was the perfect day....

Today I had a friend call at 9:00am - "I have at least 20 bags for your fundraiser!  Can I come now?!?!?"  Me, "Of course!"

11:00 We are biking to Nolan's soccer clubs year end picnic with Hunter who is part of the league, but not in Nolan's group.  My boys love Hunter.

2:30 Biking back from the picnic.  I am behind watching what a beautiful family I have.  How lucky am I?!?!?!

3:00 We learn that Hunter has try outs at 5:30 at Wilson fields.  Okay, plan the day, his grandparents are at a play, work it out.

5:00 Take Hunter to try outs, go to Fred Meyer.  Have beautiful interactions with customers including one little boy that is dressed to the nines with a microphone.  I say, "Little man, you look awesome!"  and he confidently says, "Why thank you!"  His Dad and I crack up.

5:30 I am home and am finishing up dinner thinking about how cool my life is.

6:00 I get a text from Hunter's Grandparents that they will pick him up.

7:00 We eat while watching the season finale of Amazing Race.

8:30 Boys in bed

9:00 Grant kisses me good night while I am doing lunches.

10:21 I get the call that my Grandmother has past away.  I was with her Thursday.  She told me she needed to go.  I told her it was fine and that we got it.  We will be fine.  I am healthy and I will make sure it will be okay.

What I know.....she is free.  She is not confined by her body and the worry of Dad and I. 

10:22 I call Peggy on her home phone - she is on vacation.  I let her know that Grandma past.

10:23 I call my Dad.  I am meeting him in the morning at 9:00 to get her stuff and "process" the event.

10:25 I wake Grant up and cry.

She is free.  I love her and she taught me so many things.  She was obstinate, and so am I.  She can make a meal out of bacon grease, beans, a little chicken and potatoes, so can I.  She taught me to sew.  Straight stich without swearing, others with.  She taught me to look at the world outside my Father's eyes and I did.  She taught me to be fierce, honest, and humble.  I think I got the first two.  I don't know if I will ever get the third.

It was the perfect day.  My Grandmother is free and so am I.

Love, Ang

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Eight Years....and Boot Camp

Tuesday, on Cinco de Mayo, I went to my two remaining doctors that I have to check in with regularly.  My oncologist, who I do not think I will ever shake, and my internal medicine doc who has been monitoring my varacies at the bottom of my esophagus for many years now.  Because of my slow Liver function (get this, he says, I have no liver disease.....other docs will not let me take Tylenol because of my liver disease.......argh....), the veins in the bottom of my esophagus are enlarged.  Here is the worry - they can burst and I am on blood thinners.  Bleeding can be quite bad, like you can bleed out in a matter of minutes.  Here is the thing - I have no symptoms, I have no pain, I do not barf up blood, I do not barf anymore.  Amazing what a strong stomach you have after six years of on and off chemo.  So, he wants to put me on a pill that will lower my heart rate and blood pressure to reduce the "stress" on my veins.  GONG. (Remember the Gong Show - I loved that show....I digress...).  GONG.  I say to him, "Let me tell you where I am at."  Dr. D is awesome, but no one says that to Dr. D.  He was like, "O-K-A-Y, let's talk about where y-o-u...a-r-e...a-t....????"  "Dr. D, I have worked really hard to get back and for the first time in 10 years (two of kids and eight of this bullshit), I feel like I just might be back.  I walk three times a week with one being a five mile, I do yoga, I am doing crappy like videos at home and now, now I want to BOOT CAMP!  I have fought to be here.  I have gone through crap to get my thoracic muscles to remember to move probably, I have gone through PT, Grant bought me a heart monitor that I promise to wear, and I am going to with a buddy."  He was squinting when he said, "What is BOOT CAMP?"  I told him what I knew and I asked for it for six months just to see then I would take his pill.  He thought about it and said, "Angela, good for you for wanting this and good for you for doing it.  Six months?  Promise you will come back?  You know your veins may never burst, but I just do not want that to happen...."  "I know, doc.  I know."  "You will call me if anything changes, you throw up blood, weird bleeding in you stool..."  I interrupt, "When have I not?!?!?!  Yes."  "Okay, Boot Camp lady, get out of here.  By the way, how long is a boot camp workout?"  "45 mins"  "Oh, good, they can't kill you in 45 minutes...."  I raise my eyebrows, "O-K-AY."  I am off and go to lunch with a great girlfriend.  I tell her about Boot Camp and say, "They can't kill me in 45 mins."  She nods and says, "Listen to your body and drink lots of liquids."  She may have been rolling her eyes... :)   Off to see Hank, my oncologist, I weigh in, "You have lost a few pounds."  "Six" I reply.  I continue with the conversation with Dr. D.  "I want to do Boot Camp.  I will wear my heart monitor, I am going with a friend, ......."
Hank is like, "What do they do at Boot Camp?"  I explain a little but I really do not know, but I end with, "It is only 45 mins."  Hank shrugs his shoulders and says, "They can't kill you in 45 mins - go ahead!"  Chemo almost killed me in 2 minutes......does anybody pay attention to what they are saying?!?!?!  I said to Hank, "Great, do you know it has been eight years this month?"  He said, "I know."  No he didn't.....whatever.  I said, "Do you get a performance bonus on people that live longer than anticipated?"  "Always like the way you think Ang, but I do not think so.  Maybe I should ask."  "Never hurts to ask!" nodding with wide eyes.  He hugs me and tells me that I have to come back next month because of Boot Camp....wha????  Okay, fine.  I was on cloud nine.  I came home, walked the hill by my house, visit with couple friends for a Cinco de Mayo Margarita, and was a normal girl, with a normal family, on a normal day, doing her best......

Boot Camp was yesterday...I survived and I can still walk, but gingerly.  I survived.  Yeah me.

Happy Thursday, Ang

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


For the past two days, I have been medical facilities.  One was for my annual endoscopy.  They continue to monitor the effects of my liver damage because of all the chemo I had.  It was fine, but they will talk and chat for a month to see if it is to the point of treatment, surgery, drugs, etc.  If I sound flip, I kinda am.  I am monitored so close and they still do so much to me to be sure that nothing goes wrong, I am still on two shots a day for blood clots that happened FOUR YEARS AGO.  My liver started slowing down half way through all the chemo I had which resulted in ultrasounds, annual endoscopies (sp), etc. etc.  I bet normal people who do not get scanned all the time have all this, but they just do not know it.  The fact that I can complain about it....well, that is priceless.  Let me continue....

I am at that age that we take care of EVERYONE else.  My grandmother is still alive, my parents are needing my help more and more, I schedule all the family vacations and have to discuss it four times and then do all the work, I am on the PTA (President no less) and the kids at school just treat me like staff.  "Can you open this?"  "I can't find my sister."  "I need to use the phone."  "Where is the garbage?"  REALLY?!?!?!?  Eyes!!!!  Anyway, I digress.  

I was talking with my Dad the other day and he was telling me what a completely awful day he had had. "They just cancelled my colonoscopy and there was NO INFORMATION as to why!"  1.  Most people would be happy with that.  2.  Really - that is a bad day?!?!  Do you live in Disneyland normally?!?!?!  I just listened and crossed my eyes.  I love love love him, but that is not a bad day.

The friends I saw over the weekend saw my angst.  They live it with me and I love them for it.  Grant just keeps saying, "Ang, everything is going to be okay."  Now, to a panic-ritten (sp) individual like myself I am like, "How do you know?!???!  Lots of people die everyday - GOOD PEOPLE!  Better people that I am!!!"  It is not worth it for him either.  In this example, I am my Dad.

So, life goes on and I spend the entire day today at the cancer center.  I have to call my neighbor's son, Luke, to get questions I left on my desk to ask my oncologist.  Insurance, Social Security, banks, I don't know, maybe the trash guy, maybe in the Fed Ex man need to know my status.  I have to fit in a category.  A box.  I am not in remission.  I don't get that word.  Too many recurrences of my cancer.  So, I ask Hank and he says with caution (because I do not think they want to say these things), "Your chronic disease is stable.  The reason you still have your port (that was one of the questions) is that you have had so many recurrences that we are able need to treat it again."  Stable.  Chronic.  Disease.  Funny part is - I think that is a good day.

A new goal was reached today - by my next scan I will be 15 months cancer free.  I have never, since May of 2007, been cancer free that long.  Before, the number to beat was 13.  

THAT IS A GOOD DAY.  Now, back to being the Mom who told her son there was no track today and is in trouble with a 10 year old, to planning vacations, going to doctor's appointment for family, speaking to social workers and nurses for grandma, doing t-shirt drives, fundraisers, and trying to keep it all together.  Everyday is a good day for me.  Yeah me.

Happy Tuesday, Ang

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Buying Cars/Life/Helping Friends

This is a long one, so settle in....

Sometimes I wonder what sort of life I live.....don't get me wrong, I am involved at the school (probably too much), I am busy with Nolan's soccer club (SUCKER), and I am driving with Mason and Grant for the weekend to Kalispell, MT for a hockey tournament.  I know CRAZY, but that is what you do these days.

Buying Cars....

One thing I learned about my husband is that he does not like driving old cars.  Funny part is - they are not really that old.  When we got married, he had a Fiesta.  He bought it new with 13.9% interest.  Ford was the only company that would finance him since he was a foreigner.  Little did they know they would gain a customer for LIFE.  As most of you know, that car died by deer.  Replaced by the 2000 Explorer that he did not believe we deserved and was self conscious about for about 20 mins.  Now, pay attention, this gets complicated.  I was driving a 1995 Subaru.  It was the first NEW car I had ever owned and we bought it to get me credit history since I had NONE.  In 2004, Grant and I traded cars because I was having a baby and he thought the bigger car was good for me and the baby.  That lasted 9 months.  The Subaru at that time had 180,000 miles on it.  The first night he came home and said, "Ang, the gas gauge does not work."  I replied with, "Just hit the trip odometer and when it gets to 300 miles, get gas."  The next night he came home and said, "The passenger seat is wet."  I said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you, when it is raining you have to park uphill so that the sunroof doesn't leak."  And then the last night he came home he said, "Ang, the car is running rough."  I said, "No worries, it just misfired.  Turn it off and wait.  They turn it on and drive it a while.  The check engine light will go off in five successful trips."  Grant was done and we bought the Focus.  I never liked the Focus.  It was great on dry payment and really how many times does that happen here????  Shortly after that, I got cancer.  Everything went into conservative mode EXCEPT vacations.  And then close to our 20th wedding anniversary, Grant said we should buy a new car and I should drive it.  I said, "Only if we are replacing the Focus."  We got a great deal on a Ford C-Max, traded in the Focus (good reddens) and we were done.  Grant got the Explorer, now 14 and 173,000 miles, but he was only going to the train station and back.  The first night he came home and said, "Ang, the gas gauge does not work."  I replied with, "Just hit the trip odometer and when it gets to 250 miles and get gas."  The next night he came home and said, "The rear wiper doesn't work"  I said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you, when you close the back just pull it out and it will work great until you open the back again."  And then the last night he came home he said, "Ang, the compass doesn't work."  I thought, "Seriously, you are going to the train station - can you not find your way home???, but said, "I can get one from the auto store."  But Grant was done and he found an Expedition that we had to drive to Yakima to purchase.  Two new cars in four months.  Don't worry he drives the "old" car.  WHATEVER.  This is my second new car in my life.  This is Grant's 4th.  Don't let him fool you when he tells you how poor he was.....


People always tell me what a great parent I am.  Seriously?  Have you read my blog?  I am pretty sure no one is taking my advice on potty training - remember, I made Nolan paid for his diapers.  But here is a new one for the books.  We have entered the life of "too many options".  For example, Mason on Tuesday had school and then track until 5:00 but I had to pick him up at 4:30 to go to guitar.  I was all motherly and stuff saying things to myself that I was going to bring him a mini meal between track and guitar and I even bought some fun stuff from Costco to do it with.  Here is the thing, when the rubber hits the road, I ran out of time, picked him up from practice and realized that I did not do ANYTHING that I had planned.  I asked him if he was hungry and he said, "I could eat."  I told him I had a candy in my purse and he dug through it to get it. He then proceeded to eat four cough drops and was pleased as punch with his discovery.  I sent my eldest boy to guitar with one hard toffee and four cough drops in his stomach and all he had to say was, "Mom, I really love cough drops!"  I rolled my eyes and thought, "Good thing because now they are a food group." Parental fail.

Helping Friends....

Two people in my life have been diagnosed with cancer in the last two months.  One an old dear friend and one a "compadre" at school.  Today, I went to my compadre's first chemo appointment.  It was at a different hospital for me, but as usual, I busted through the doors no problem.  She did AMAZING.  We thought we were in the clear and when I was going to leave, I hugged her and then she looked at me and said, "My back is starting to hurt."  Knowing what had happened to me, I briskly (to the point of screaming down the hall) got to her nurse and said, "Her back is hurting.  You need to come now."  Everything was stopped and in 20 mins she was okay.  She got more premeds and started again.  My Mom was watching the kids, Grant was making it home, Nolan had soccer practice and I was the driver for him and Hunter, etc.  but I wasn't leaving her.  Elaine never left me and I had stopped breathing.  And this is what I love.....Hunter's Grandpa offered to take the kids so my Mom could go home and Grant could be with Mason.  No question, no hesitation, no nothing.  Before he offered (or was asked), Grant was going to releave my Mom at the soccer field and Mason as going to be home because honestly, I could not leave her and and her family.  I also think Mason thought he could sneek in some screen time.  In any case, this shit is scary.  But she did it and I held it together.  I know all the things that could happen and I pushed it down.  Her daughter was watching me and I had to push it down.  I ALMOST stared an argument with God, but there was no time for that.  I got there at 10:15am and I left at 7pm.  I learned more about her and her family and got to know what an amazing person she is.  It is not all work, it is time beautifully spent.  I hope I helped and I know I did.  Something should come of my journey, something more than my little life in South King County Washington.  In any case, she finished with flying colors and now we know what needs to happen so that she can do it successfully.  Check.  Next, my dear old friend that I helped douse with a ice filled cooler outside during a winter wedding at Silver Star and then locked him outside because he threw my husband's glasses on the dance floor.......but that was a lifetime you R!

Happy Wednesday, Ang

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Everything I needed to learn I learned in Kindergarten....

Life is moving along.  Busy as ever and now I have been asked to read to help in the bilingual Kindergarten Class on Wednesday mornings. Confirming that my Spanish is good enough for that, I agreed.  It is taught entirely in Spanish and the vocabulary is flooding back to me.  Scary part is that I struggle when I am teaching but when it come to discipline, the words roll off the tongue.  Shocking.  

When we were walking to lunch, I asked one of the students what was his favorite day of the week.  He said, "Friday because I get electronics while my parents eat dinner together." He goes on to explain that he was bothering his Mom asking for electronics all the time so they came up with one day and time for him to play.  I said, "Your Mom is brilliant!  I am going to do that in my house!"  Then he stops me, has me bend now, and whispers in my ear, "Yeah, apparently, me asking her if it is Friday all the time does seem to bother her at all!"  He pulls away, looks at me right in the eyes opened like saucers, and nods slowly.  God, I love Kinder.

Saw the doc yesterday and saw my December scan.  My watch area is truly a watch area.  It is a stringy mass at the bottom of my left lung.  Stringy is good.  Usually means scar tissue.  But, it is big, so we watch.  This area has always been difficult.  When I had lung surgery in 2009, they were going to take out my lower left lobe, but a Canadian surgeon in his fellowship saved it.  I liked him a lot.  I even tracked him down in Toronto and sent a family pic.  Now, I should track him down and say, "Dude, that was messy!  He would retort, "Sure it was, but six years later you are still talking!" Touché.

Next scan is March with will be one year with NO treatment.  The longest I have ever gone is 13 months.  Time will tell.

Happy Wednesday!  I am off to Kinder!  Love, Ang