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