Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Things are rolling along.....

Okay, okay, I am still on this side of the lawn.  I know it has been a while since I posted, but I have a really good excuse - Howie.  We got a dog.  After two years are looking, researching, trying to find (and been rejected by several "rescue shelters"), we got a puppy flown in from Pennsylvania.  His name says it all.  He is a good pup, afraid of nothing, and in love with all of us.  Pic below....

As for the rest of us, things are normal.  The medical bills are rolling in and I am calling saying, "Why did a blood draw cost $2000?  Right.....I think that should be rebilled also...thanks."  And then others I am like, "Damn, I DO have to pay that one."

The boys are doing great.  Mason has REALLY good, REALLY good grades and I was a little stammered by it.  He is always been a smart kid, but all As?  I asked him about it and he said, "I stopped fighting about what I had to do and just did it."  Well, yeah, and there is  He is still in Hockey and spending more and more on goalie equipment.  I am fearful, of not only Swedish Hospital mail right now, but the Mastercard bill.  In his last game, he took 37 shots on goal (that is like three times a bad game).  He let two in, but they won 3-2.  He said it was the equipment with a smirky (sp) smile.  I responded with, "Yep, no talent there - just equipment....."  Queue eye roll.

Nolan is doing very well also and I am happy to say, the Highly Capable Program suits him.  He is finally challenged enough to not "help others (disrupt class)", or try to convince the teacher he should teach the lesson because coming from him it will be easier to understand.  Yeah, that happened.  He even told her it was her opportunity to get more coffee.  I think he gets it from his Dad.  ;)  His Flag Football team struggled this season, but they won there last game last night with flying colors.  They really played well and there were all over the moon.  Party on Thursday night.

Grant is working, working, working.  Our dryer mystery has finally been solved after vent cleaning with the dryer vent for "free", maintenance, a "new" dryer from OfferUp for $85 dollars and a REAL DRYER VENT CLEANER DUDE THAT DISASSEMBLED THE VENT ON THE ROOF AND TOOK THE SCREEN OUT THAT SAID, "REMOVE THIS SCREEN IF THIS IS A DRYER VENT."  Brilliant.  Oh, then we had rats in the crawl space.  Definitely, afraid of the MasterCard bill.

So, all is costs too much, but it is just I am in it.

Happy Wednesday,

Howie's first day after the flight, dog park and bath....

Howie with best bud, Nolan.

 Howie on Mason's lap after first haircut.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Just like that he grew up....

Just like that and just like his brother,  Nolan does not want to cuddle me in the morning.  He is the reason I do not get up until he comes in.  When he just was talking and out of the crib, he said something like, “You wait for me, got it?!?!  This is MY time.”, pounding his chest like a little caveman.

While it broke my heart a little and, luckily the cats happily took his place, I had to find other things to keep the conversation going.  So, on Thursday, the glow of 6th grade had worn off and he was reluctant to get out of the truck.  I said, “Only two days until the weekend, and when you get sad, just think of how much you love me!  That should pass the time!” He rolled his eyes with his shrugged shoulders, threw his head back,  and said, “M..O..M, I already do that!”  Dumbstruck, he kissed me goodbye and, as soon as his feet hit the ground, he was talking to friends.

Damn, that kid is going to break my heart again and, probably, again.

Happy Saturday,


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Summer is over.....but lets focus on August....

July was full of treatments, church camp, sleeping, and more sleeping.  In August, things really got shaken up.

The first weekend got started with Grant dropping Mason and Wyatt at hockey camp.  So, try and follow this......They stay at Rob and Jen's in Kelowna.  Rob is currently in chemo for Stage Four Colorectal cancer.  Rob INSISTS that they come and everything will be fine.  I am recovering (which is much easier that chemo) from Cyber knife from Stage Four Colorectal Cancer.  Wyatt has just recently lost him Mom from Stage Four Colorectal Cancer.  That, and hockey goalies, were the bond between our families, so I was introduced to his Dad and we worked on passports and all the paperwork to get him over the boarder.  For the week, there was just one pick up that Robin had to do.  I was sick with the prospect of it and practically begged Grant to stay, but he was SUPER BUSY at work and he said that Robin said it would be fine.  (Queue eye roll)  Now, our boys know what it is like to have a Mommies in Chemo.  They have seen the bloody worst of it, but still.  Alas Robin, picks them up in his "new" car the Nissan Leaf.  Okay, one grown man, two BIG boys, and two BIGGER THAN LIFE GOALIE BAGS.  That had to be interesting.  I have to think bungy (sp) cords (Canadians love bungy cords) were involved, but no one is talking.  In any case, they got home.  At the end of the week, Robin texted me.  This was a text that is one of those that you receive and are speechless.  With feelings that go every which way and that you can quite coral, he said something to the effect of, "Clammy (his nick name for me), Just wanted you to know that everything went well this week.  One thing I have to tell you is that when I came to pick them up they both asked first thing, "How are you feeling?"  Now, I know they have had different experiences in life, but they are teenage boys, so I did not expect it.  It was nice of them to ask and they are welcome back anytime.  They are good boys."  Okay, so Robin has never been one to compliment me at any turn....he speaks the truth ALL THE TIME REGARDLESS OF THE CONSEQUENCE.  Don't worry I hold my own, but this was beautiful for two reasons, I knew he was okay after chemo and that he, who I love more than most against my better judgement, said, "You done good."  They are good boys and I am blessed that they found each other before we loss Wyatt's Mom who was blessing to me and everyone who knew her.

Yeah, and that is how it started.....they we were off to Leavenworth for the "Rock Face Boys" camping trip.  I have probably mentioned this before, but these boys have known each other SINCE daycare and we go every year to Ohanapecosh National Campground until last year when APPARENTLY no one wanted to go there anymore, but then it just turned out to be the other two Dads who plotted and planned to tell me.  I was like, "You are worse than women!"  Hence, Leavenworth at the KOA this year.  It was CROWDED but awesome.  I usually bring flank steak, but it was like $100 for flank steak so I am Oso Buco in the Instapot fir $24 dollars.  It was a hit!  I LOVE TRAILER CAMPING!!!!  They were in cabins, so they were happy too.  Coffee delivered by children to the Moms in the morning.  Then straight off to the KOA at Seaside.  We did this trip before with our friends and my adopted third child, Titus, that spent most of the summer with us.  We follow their lead, but one of the days we ride bikes.  Okay, Michele so I am outing you.....  So, last year, my friend and her husband that had the wedding of the decade which I know I blogged about (Edgewater on New Years) always rent a tantem bike and we all have our own.  So, they go down and they no longer have tantem bikes and then they go to the state park, no tantem bikes.  I have never seen this in Michele because she is a pretty good "game face" girl and we have never had a tragedy together, but she was just this side of devastated.  They scramble a bit with mopeds and such and Grant and I are just like, "Whatever you want to do, we are happy..."  I talk a little about my bike and how it is a geared beach cruiser.  She explains again about how she can't ride a bike and balance.....I nudge, she resists....pause....mopeds suck.....Michele wants to bike......and then.......then Michele walks over to our campsite and says, "Is you bike down?"  All my boys and Titus leap up and start getting my bike down, she is (sorry Michele) barking orders a bit like, "Rick, you have to be by me, you have to help me....."  And Rick, in perfect time, "Of course dear.  Yes, dear."  We are all looking at each other like, "HOLY SHIT, we better not screw this up!"  She gets on the bike, then we lower the seat, she gets back on the bike and well, the rest is history.  The people in campsite around our loop started picking up on this and were cheering her on on.  Rick ran 2 to 3 loops and then she went on her own.  Michele could ride a bike.  The boys rode with her for a long time.  It was truly gratifying to her.  The joy in her face, in Rick's face, in Titus' face.  30 years of crap broken.....she can ride.  She rode the next day and then, we did the big bike ride day and the only one that fell was me!  We started off the day with Rick and Michele renting beach cruisers.  Now, a normal beach cruiser has ONE gear.  Beaches are flat.  They do not require more than one gear.  One gear with hills can make you a bike hater.  So, we begin and Michele who is in greater shape than I am is struggling.  I offer my bike and she is like, "Yeah, sista, I don't think so with your lungs?!?!?!"  Okay, something like that.  And then, from the back Nolan says, "Mom, you take my bike.  Michele will take your bike and I can ride the beach cruiser."  STUNNED, but knowing that this boy (YES, THIS BOY) could pull this out of his pocket especially when it comes to Moms, we accepted.  The day went great!  I rode a mountain bike which I have not done in years and they are WAY BETTER NOW!  I went further on the smallest seat I have seen in a long time.  The beach cruiser was past around like a "Call of Duty", but in a good way.  And we ended the day really happy for the things we thought we could not do, but did, haven't done, but did, and broke a lot of barriers that day.  The end of the day was Michele having a beer while shopping for bikes online.  We had other fun like kites and rippin' up the sand on the beach (me and the boys - am I the only adult that likes to do this?), Tillamook (amazing ice cream) and the some of the best pizza ever!!!!!

Then, home to horrible air, the pool being closed because of air quality, and HOT HOT HOT temperatures.  My solution - clean the house and Titus was right in there too!  Then, the pending teachers strike.  It all worked out though and we started school on time, fall schedules have begun, and I am "fixed" as the cyberknife oncologist told me, until the next time (January-ish as the Radiologist predicts).  I am back helping Neely O'Brien's PTA because the principal as changed AGAIN, but this time it is someone I can trust and who wants us.  No, my kids don't go there, but they are my kids....always were.  Tons hugged me, parents chatted with me, it was like home.  My kids are fine up the hill.  Those ladies have it goin' on.  There is healing at Neely and if I can help with that, well then, another barrier broken.


Happy Labor Day Weekend,

Saturday, July 7, 2018

It has been a while, so grab and coffee or a drink.....

So, when I left you, I was driving the SECOND rental car of the SECOND accident that WAS NOT MY FAULT, ending the school year, and trying to get in all my cyber knife appointments in BEFORE my bucket list trip to the Baltic's.  So, here is what happened.  I hung up on GEICO twice.  LOL.  They were the other insured and started tell me a week after I had gotten everything taken care with my insurance company, "...that I needed to just listen to them, so that I know what I needed to do next."  Which turned out to be a lot of things for me to do because they wanted to switch the claim over to them with their discounts.  I told them I was not going to do any of it as I have to have a car and if I waited around for them, my kids would not go to school for a week.  They didn't like my answer and told me what I needed to do, so I hung up on them.  Apparently, that was a big deal.  They were shocked and called me back, in which, I hung up on them again.  Then, they called my insurance company and complained about me.  Apparently Generation X's are not used to not being listened to even if their perspective to the customer is INSANE.  See, I am almost 50 and I decided I am not listening to anyone that is going to give me more work ESPECIALLY a 28 year old telling me to listen to what I need to do.  In addition, my medical insurance company's third party administrator that "helps" approve treatment stalled the process so much that I was not able to do a single treatment before I left.  HOWEVER, the clinic was able to set up all my pre-treatment appointments and I was able to start LITERALLY the day I got home.  INSURANCE - awesome.

So, school ended on the the 21st of June.  My brother and sister in law were here for most of June and helped me pick up and drop off the boys all month.  Jane and I even saw some movies for cheap.  I also ended cleaning like a freak show.  I always clean before treatment, but this was over the top.  I got out the rug doctor and literally cleaned EVERY PIECE OF CLOTH in my house - carpet, stairs, couches, seat covers, EVERYTHING.  Smart?  No.  Freshening?  Sure!  I also cut open my foot to the point of having to buy new shoes for the trip, but that is my ridiculousness, nothing else.  The only places not touched were the boys room and my study.  Too bad for them.....not me, I don't care and there was too much to move.....they and I have too much crap.

So, lots of pawns in the game changed in June.  I mean that in the nicest of ways.  Insurance - car and medical, school, etc.  For example, towards the end of school while I am listening to my boys complain about their schools, I say, "Well, you can go back.  I asked for a year and I would be TOTALLY MORE CONVENIENT FOR ME FOR YOU TO GO TO NEELY AND MILL CREEK.  I will transfer you tomorrow."  They both looked at me stunned.....pause....stunned.....pause.....and then it was just like the movie Trading Places where the two old guys say, "William (Eddie Murphy), you can leave us now and never see us again....." and William says, "No, I believe I can hang with you guys for a while....."  No more complaining and everyone is on board with next year.  Do I hate driving them every darn day - YES.  Have I LOVED their experience - YES.  So, I drive them every damn day and hope that my brother and sister in law visit more often!

Then, off we go to the Baltic's!  First to Newark and then to Stockholm.  My kids had never been to Europe and never experienced bad jet lag.  Hawaii is one thing, but it is 3 hours at most and it is HAWAII after all.  Toronto was always to our advantage, so we never really suffered there.  North Carolina and Boston the same.  I tried to help them through it, but to no avail.  There is only so much you can do.  So, my family, Mom and Donna went.  We were supposed to have rooms next to each other so that we could share a balcony, but at the last minute they changed my Mom and Donna's room to the other side of the ship.  When called they said our travel agent did it.  WHAT?  Lisa would never do that.  In addition, we wanted to get the 6:30 dining time, which we were never able to get before the cruise and then we could get something like it with "free style dinning" which we researched a ton, but then were told that we had to register for it before we left port (with all our research how did we not know this?!?!?!).  When we asked, it was 20 mins after we left port.  We asked again, and were never responded to.  In addition, we discovered that there was no one in the room beside us that my Mom and Aunt were suppose to have.  No lie.  The room was vacant all week and we could prove it.  So, the cruise line that I always wanted to go on, that spoke to me in all marketing ways, well, SUCKS.  IT IS ROYAL CARIBBEAN.   The tours were good, the Indian food was amazing in at the buffet since we were banished from the dining room, and there pasty chef was worth following to the end of the earth.  They should get different jobs where they can be appreciated.  Also the staff for our room and at the buffet were exceptional - they should also jump cruise lines.  AFTER THAT - THEY SUCK.  DON'T GO ON THEM - THEY LIE, AND THEY IGNORE THE FIRST TIME CRUISER, BUT THEY PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION TO RUDE TOUR GROUPS.  Bad Royal Caribbean.  You have no idea what an enemy you have made.

In any case, we had a good time.  Can't keep a good group down, but seriously, we wanted to go to Cuba and there was a great itinerary to Cuba with Royal Caribbean and I dumped it.  They were that horrible to us from an administration point of view.  Too bad - even if they gave us a great deal, I wouldn't go.  It is too much money to risk and not feel valued.  I worked in Administration for years.  If I ever treated anyone like this I would be ashamed (and in my early years I did, but never repeated the mistake).

Grant had been WONDERFUL with all the towns we did not do tours in - Helsinki, Finland; Tallinn, Estonia; Riga, Latvia, and Stockholm, Sweden. Helsinki had beautiful weather and we saw amazing things, but the most important thing I noticed was, people were orderly, but not polite.  It was weird.  So, if there was someone taking a picture, Fins just walk through it.  No waiting, no nothing.  Actually no thought at all.  I was shocked.  This town DEPENDS on tourism.  Especially from all the drunk and disorderliness I witnessed on the streets on a MONDAY morning.  They should be happy people are coming!  WEIRD.  Beautiful churches, markets, shops, etc.  I was waiting in line for the washroom.  There were two women at the front of the line involved in an intense conversation.  They continued even when there were empty stalls, then, they were so close they did not allow anyone out.  Finally, a Fin said what I imagine to be, "Hey, there are stalls and you need to get a move on!"  And they did.  Again, WEIRD.  We experienced REALLY rude behavior on the ship also.  To the point, I was using my Spanish.....Latino and move the Spaniards along.  Seriously, you are going to put your three and four year old in front of me during miniature golf, play my ball, and then watch and film them while the hold up everyone?  Yeah, they did, until I started to tell them they needed to move it.  Apparently, they did not want that on the video.  Rude?  Maybe, but matched with rude.  Then, St. Petersberg.  When we got there, Grant and I had planned five tours over two days.  We wanted to do several things and you cannot leave the boat without a tour ticket or a VISA which takes months to get.  Also, I did not want an all day tour in case I did get treatment and I could not hack 11 hours of touring.   Literally, it was get up, go through immigration, tour, come back go through, what I came to know as, ex-immigration, back to the ship and repeat.....five times.  They got really used to us and we all got used to them.  Then, I stared to think about it.  Why would you check my papers back to the ship......unless, you did not want people to get out.  See in Russia, you have to carry your passport - mandatory.  So, if someone killed me, they would have me cruise pass, passport, and they could board the ship.  CREEPY.  Outside of that, I had a great time.  I tried to buy Rubles, but no one would let me.  No lie.  Dollars were accepted EVERYWHERE, but on the DL.  Very curious.  It was fun being there during FIFA. Lots of tourists, people were happy, and weather was great.  I finally got there.  "Viva Mexico, Argentina!"  I always wanted to go to St Petersberg.  My High School Spanish teacher, Mr. Carter, spoke Spanish and Russian and always took a group to Russia.  This was in the early 80s during the cold war.  I was his Spanish TA and he always told me how amazing the Metro was there and how we were really the I know.  31 years later I got there.  Thank you Mr. Carter for making me want to go and I went on a Metro and Market tour just for you.  You were right - never a cleaner more efficient Metro, seriously, you can eat off the floor.  London, New York, Mexico City, and Seattle have NOTHIN' on this. NOTE:  On the last day RIGHT BEFORE OUR SHIP LEFT, we were on a tour of the Hermitage - a major art museum and the winter palace of Peter the Great.  I was the last person out of our tour.  I was helping this Asian family who had a slow Grandpa and I couldn't leave him behind.  They had gotten lost on a previous tour and I just could not have that happen again.  I was out of the museum and Mason ran up to me....."MOM!  DO YOU HAVE NOLAN?"  "No. I thought he was with your Dad."  "He is not and he is lost.  We have to find him!"  I reversed into the museum thinking this is weird.  Nolan stays with that group....I taught him that as painful as it was cause it took him FOREVER.  But I was also in a foreign country with a blonde boy that had no papers and cruise ship that was going to leave him and all I could think of was sex trade....."  I went as far back as I could and started calling him name.  Shortly there after, a young woman came up to me and told me to stop screaming.  I told her I would I had lost my son and I would not until he was found or there was some sort of plan to find him.  "Go to administration."  "Where is Administration?"  "Please stop screaming."  "Tell me where Administration is and I will."  Then I secretly (maybe not so much now) cursed her to have her child lost for longer than mine and see how it feels.  Administration was EXTREMELY helpful.  They started a plan.  That is when Grant and the tour guide showed up.  Nolan was on the bus.  Mason had misunderstood.  Everything was fine.  I apologized a million times.  Everyone was super kind and we went on.  Nolan was not sold into the sex trade and I would see him again.  My mind goes to a horrible place when it comes to kids.....I don't wish it on anyone.  My instincts were right though.....I taught him well; those who survive stay will the group.


Riga, Latvia...Not as cute as Estonia, but eat there and go to the the real market.  This is a real city.  We had the BEST lunch ever with the sweetest girl ever.  All lunches are composed with potatoes, beets and some meat with gravy and they are DELICIOUS!  But they only accept Euros and you might have to go over the menu a couple times......we translated fish soup with sausage soup which was wrong.  If you find a Business Lunch, do it.  Economical and delish!

So, after the cruise we stayed in Stockholm for three days. I loved it.  We screwed up a little because we did the hop on hop off tour for our transportation to our hotel.  Mom and Donna were NOT to pleased, but the hotel turned out to be amazing with a grocery right next.  It was still a serious walk.  We were there for the Sweden soccer game which they won.  We were walking back to the hotel and when they scored there was a cheer that reverberated through the streets or Stockholm.  It was amazing.....truly.  I am a Sweden fan forever now.  They lost today, but from now on, they are my team.  So, committed, so loyal, so normally excited.  Also, if you go......the ABBA and Vasa Museum are a must!  Except when you go to ABBA, Grant was all, "So, when did they couple swap??!?!?!"  and I was like, "That was Fleetwood Mac!"  It really took over our experience......and there was no couple was Fleetwood Mac......I am no expert on ABBA, but I am know there was no couple swapping!!!!!!  I was right......:) WAYNE'S COFFEE ROCKS!

We toured during the day and ate in our room at night with the help of the bar downstairs.  Then, taxi to airport and home.  After being on the tarmac for three hours in Newark, we got home late on the 4th, exhausted and colasped (sp) in our beds with little regard for any fireworks.  NOTE:  Fireworks were outlawed in Kent two years ago, so it was not really noisy.  I have no reason to be home now for the 4th, but there are thinking of reversing the law.  Doesn't every American deserve to responsibly blow stuff up on the 4th?!!?!?!  If not, I am going on vacation.

Treatment started the next day.  It was shockingly normal and familiar.  The boys are still a little messed up from jet lag, but they are working through it.  Nolan to camp next week, me in treatment until the 18th, and Mason in camp on the 22nd.

The house was blissfully normal, our cars are our own, the cats blissfully accommodating, a garage needs to be cleaned out, school stuff to purge for next year, and life to continue....2 treatments down 8 to go for this time.  Life works out sometimes....and another bucket list item checked off....

Happy Saturday,

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

When good news turns to bad and then good again....

So I met with the Doctor today and I was yet in ANOTHER new rental car.  On Friday, a car filled with very tired graveyard shift drivers decided to turn left into my Expedition.  Good injuries.  Bad news, a lot of extra work and another car in the shop.

ANYWAY, I sit down with the same Doc that I had a couple years ago.  The nurses all said hi and asked about the is like that now, everywhere I go.  "Teenagers?!?!?  How is that?!?!?!"  Anyway, I digress.  The doctor comes in and gets straight down to business...."Well, I had to call Hank because his notes are awful and as we were talking, you know he has a brilliant mind, anyway, as we were talking, your six spots are at three very different stages of development.  Two are new and have never been treated, two are old from when you first came and were treated by cyberknife with the markers still in tact, and two are two small to treat.  We will just watch those.  So, I told him that I can do all of these and systemic is not necessary at this time. So, let's take a look...."  Okay pause.  While, he is looking at the pictures which I now know all too well....I feel like falling off my one has ever said, "You get to do less."  They have said things like, "You have no cancer in your pelvis."  "So, I am out of here doc?"  "Oh no, you are riddled with it in your lungs." or
"You have no signs of live cancer in your body."  "So, am I out of here Doc?"  "No, we have to do six more treatments just to be sure."  There was the one time they said, "We saved your lower right lobe."  "Y-e-a-h....." between opiate pills - pass me a pill.  Okay, now we are back in the office, I had to have him repeat everything and he decided to treat the two new untreated spots first AND I don't need markers because they are close to my spine (which is sometimes the hardest part of the process), BUT (here is the but), he will have to treat them one at a time.  O-K-A-Y, that is it?  "What about the old ones that were treated?"  "I suspect we will just zap/hit/treat (can't remember) those in six months to a year."  We can keep doing this until someday your lungs can't take anymore or you can't handle the treatment anymore (which involves four pre appointment, five treatments and laying on a table very still for a hour - I can do that.)  But hopefully, we just keep going and someday we beat it before it beats us.  "OKAY!  When do we start I am going away at the end of June."  He asked if I wanted to wait until after, "NOPE.  NOW."  So I will have approximately 18 doctors visits before I leave.  THAT IS A LOT.  The slowest part is insurance.

On the way home, I confirmed with Hank that there was no systemic.  He said, "Sorry to disappoint..."  Funny, funny man.

I got home to my very clean yet not organized house that I have four meals being prepped for the freezer for chemo......I gleefully make lunch, send some emails, do some work and then I sit down for just a moment before I have to get Nolan.  I close my eye and take a quick nap.  I get up, hit the restroom and POW....the room starts to spin, I get really hot, I vomit, and I am exhausted.  Room still spinning.  I have somehow taken off my shirt and necklace and I am taking off my pants and sweating like crazy.......the room slows down a bit and I click in, "I can't drive.  Especially a rental car, after to two accidents and half naked.....what do I do?!?!?!"  Mom can't make it there in time, so I text a couple mom's and Cheryl's text comes back and says she can do it.  THANK GOD.  Get in bed, a try breathing exercises.  My in-laws were blowing back through town and I texted them to see if they could get Mason.  Yes.  Saved.  Now, just my meeting tonight.  I started slowly feeling better, but I was exhausted and when I asked my President what I should do, she was like, "DON'T COME IF YOU CAN'T."  I think there was probably a "you dork" in there somewhere.  I got stuff together for Grant to take up to the meeting.  Visited the in laws for a while and ate dinner and was in bed by 7:45.  Now, of course I am up and feel fine.  Probably just the stress and then relaxation from it all.

So, there is it.  Just Cyberknife.  I can do that.

Oh and wave at the Black Fusion - it is the car of the moment!!!!! And by the way, this car situation is also exactly like in 2000 when Grant hit two deer five weeks apart in each car - totaled one (not hard it was a Fiesta and we got $300 for it) and $5000 dollars on the Subaru.  This time it is me getting hit four weeks apart in each car.  It is all very I thought I would clarify!

Happy Tuesday,


Saturday, May 5, 2018

Results of the PET scan

So, it is good that I got a PET scan because instead of three spots there are six.  Them call them "PET HOT".  I will be meeting with the docs at Cyberknife to see what they can do, but Hank said that we should also look at a "systemic treatment".  Systemic treatment in my era of cancer equaled chemo.  My greatest fear is to back into chemo with all the havoc on the body, "But wait...." Hank says.  There is a new therapy since you were diagnosed.  It works with your genes and is much easier on your system.  I have the words written downstairs and I should get the for you, but forgive me, I just don't want to.  I think I remember this therapy when they were talking to my Dad.  Hank said that we have all these tumor slides on file and that we should use some of those to see if this new therapy will work.  The plan:  Next week, talk to Cyberknife and then the lab will pull out old tumor slides and see if I have lived long enough to do the ONLY other therapy that I have not done in the great world of cancer.  My goal was to do them all and yet again it looks like I will.....(note the sarcasm).

I was really hoping for not this news....I told people, "I got this....I am fine....this is just a tune up." And for how hard it is for you to read....I truly sucks writing it.  Especially this week.

 And then, as always, I will be okay.  Welcome to my 24 hour pity party.


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

The aftermath of My Dad's Service, being hit by a semi, our trip to Washington DC, and Life.....

When I left you, I had three spots growing in my lungs.  It required a PET, but remember you only get 3 in your lifetime and I have had 28.  Hank was fine with it.  "We need it to see if that is active cancer.  They will allow it."  I was skeptical as I have seen no many denial notices come through my mail, but they have improved the process because it was scheduled AND APPROVED.  SHOCKING.  That is Friday.  Mom is taking the boys to and from school which I am so grateful.

My Dad's service was on the 26th of April.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful service.  People came that I only knew by name, but stopped me and told me how they loved my Dad.  No surprise to me.  I loved my Dad too, but I did learn certain things......but I got to have him as my Dad.  Stories I did not tell at the funeral that some of you know are:

#1  I was YOUNG and I woke up from a bad dream.  I went to my parents bedroom and they were not there.  I went to the window in the living room and the GTO was gone.  I knew my parents were gone - the GTO was the dependable car.  I remember holding my teddy bear, turning around, sliding down the green and gold embossed couch and saying to myself, "Do I cry?  Do I lose my mind?"  I answered, "No, my parents love me WAY to much to leave me.  I should just go back to bed."  (And you wonder where my inflated sense of self came from....)  So, I did.  In the morning, I went into my parent's bedroom and asked where they went last night.  To my confusion, my Dad collapsed, like in a weird way for me.  My Mom called me over and told me that friends of ours were in a bad car accident and they did not know what to expect, but that they had to go get the kids and get them in bed.  My parents were afraid of what I might see and decided that they should leave me at home.  I asked how they were, and everyone was going to pull through.  I was okay, like that sounded TOTALLY reasonable and I was good.  My Dad was still pretty sad.  He said to me, "You know I will never leave you."  I responded with, "Yes, are you okay?"  And he with, "Promise me you know I will never leave you."  "I promise."  This was one of five promises my Dad made me make to him.  There were only five....but then six in the end.

#2  My Dad was loved by every kid every neighborhood we lived in.  When I was little, we had sleds, like with the steel runners.  If there was enough snow, my Dad would pull ALL THE NEIGHBORHOOD KIDS behind his Trail 90 which was the first "Trail Bike" he ever owned.  He always started out with me on the right.  "Varmint, remember, don't let the muffler scrap your face - IT WILL BURN IT RIGHT OFF!"  I got to tell the next people that.  Many declined.  WHATEVER!

There are more, but I need to save them for me and my Dad was a big man and a bigger father.

So, for Spring Break, we visited our friends that we made from the KOA last year.  They are "Coasties" or Coast Guard.  There were here for a year, but we had tons of fun with them, vacationed, with them, learned that eating off of paper plates ALL the time was okay (because you could compost them - we figured that out), and played with them.  They attended Mason's birthday where we made someone puke (and the still liked us), and we invited them to the Kent Christmas Tree lighting which we missed by 2 mins (and the still liked us), etc etc.  I think they need a higher bar, but WHATEVER!  Anyhoo, we got to stay on base, they were WONDERFUL TOUR GUIDES, and we have a great time playing kick ball (wow that was sad for me - my head travels faster than my feet), hanging out, side trips to Williamsburg and Jamestown, smoking meat, watching  Lacrosse, etc.  So, we get home. The plane is late, my Mom picked up pizza for us, we go to bed, I drop the kids the next day at school while Grant takes my truck in to be serviced and I am, NO LIE, rear ended by a semi.  ALL I WANTED TO DO IS GO HOME, DO LAUNDRY, AND LISTEN TO THE SILENCE OF MY HOUSE.  Two cars in front of me, semi behind.  Light turns green.  No where to go because everything is backed up, EXCEPT THE SEMI DECIDES TO GO.  HITTING THE GAS AND RAMMING ME IN THE BACK.  I hit the woman ahead of me, who hits the woman ahead of her.  Anyway, details aside, no one was injured, it could have been SO much worse and the CMax is a little tank.  I drove away, picked up my kids, and drove it to service the next day.  The cops were amazed at how well my car did. n $8000 later I got it back.

Today, I got to have lunch with an old friend and coffee with a not so old friend.  I love laughing with both of them.  Belly laughing which is the BEST!  They are SUCH a part of my history.  One I watched go through the worst part of her life (and then she watched me) and the other told me to get on board (in a VERY nice way) and help shape a part of the future (which, as a cancer patient, gave me purpose that I can never repay.) THERE KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

So, that is the update.  PET on Friday.  Scared, but pretty sure we will have to do Cyber or Ablation. Kinda hopping it is Ablation.  Have not had time to catch up with Dr. Osnis in a while.  Miss him. Just saw the Cyber folks.  Time will tell.  Only the scan knows......

Happy Wednesday,

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Well, last Monday's scan

was cancelled because insurance denied the my preferred location that I have been going to for 11 years because it was out of network all the sudden.  It is four floors down from Hank and in the Swedish Cancer Center?!?!?!  So, it was rescheduled to Hospital Radiology which is fine - been there before.  They were like, "Do you know where we are?"  "You are next to IR 4th Floor and, let me guess - SW elevators?"  "Yes, just past IR."  The nurse that preregistered for me was like, "Angela, I know you.....just bring your insurance card and id....the rest of this is redundant...."  I laughed to myself.  Really?!?!?  After 11/12 years, someone FINALLY said that out loud!

Good news, everything OUTSIDE my lungs is stable.  Okay news, three spots that have been on watch are a bigger and we need a PET.  Need to know if they are inflamed or active cancer.  The PET will be a fight, after all, I am now 25 over the lifetime max, but it anyone can argue it, it is Hank.  He just wears on you with his nagging quiet perseverance.  In truth, I was particularly nervous about this one.  In perfect time (every 18 months or so), I seem to need treatment.  I asked if he could guess what I would do ablation, cyberknife, or surgery (this one is unlikely).  And, of course, he did not answer, but said, "Well, you have done it all, so it won't be new if it is anything at all.  Talk soon." "Yep, thanks Hank."  That was 6:37am this morning.

So there it is, more tests, to see if we need to do something.  It seems mild in comparison to two of my dear friends.  If you could add Robin to your prayers, he is in chemo now and the chemo is working, BUT he is the great fun of all the side effects.  Also, Barb.  She is the hockey Mom I met.  Not going great and in the hospital for the foreseeable future.  Having trouble with chemo.  Retaining fluid that must be drained off.  So, you see I didn't say, "Bad News" anywhere in my post, because I am not the one with it.  Pray and worry for them.  Now that I know what we are doing, I got this one.  It is like an old winter hat you never liked but your Mom made you wear.  You just WAIT for spring.

Be well, Ang

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New post and a new day.....

Life moves along as it does.  Mom and I finally agreed on an obit and we submitted it.  Things are a lot different these days than before and, sadly, the Spokesman Review is the most technologically  advanced program there is.  LOL.  So, it will run this Sunday in the Spokesman Review, but it is super questionable in the News Tribune or Seattle Times.  The most important stuff is that his service is April 26th at 10am.  There will be an "after party" because that is how my Dad would like to say it, but it will not be given out until at the ceremony.  The service will be at Tahoma, so arrive early.  It is a quick ceremony.  Be late and miss it.  That was actually my Dad to a tee.  We showed up early to every party, funeral, celebration, wedding, baptism, etc. and we were the last to leave.

I clearly did not look at my own schedule.....I have super busy that week....but I will be there fully. Dad knows that.  Everyone has been wonderful.  It is so hard to plan this especially on your own, but Tahoma has been beautiful.  The Army has walked me through what they will do and God Bless them.  I cried, but I wipe the tears and move ahead.

A long time ago, I was almost out the door to go to the bar at Gonzaga.  It was Thursday night after all and the phone rang.  One of my roommates said, "Ang, it is your Dad - you got to take this......."  I did, of course, and I told everyone to go on.  Of course, in Catholic Tradition, one BIG BOY (Basketball Player), stayed behind to escort me to the bar.  My Dad was on the phone.....sobbing.....he had been on a hunting trip and they found an overturned car with a dead body inside.  He went to the closest house and it was their son.  Their only son.  He not only broke horrible news to them, he knew how precious life was.  Mom was in Mexico.  I was at school in Spokane (surrounded by his extended family).  I was 21 and probably didn't handle it well, but I was like, "Daddy, I am good.  I have good friends.  I even have a friend here to escort me to stuff tonight.  I am good."  And I always was.  My Dad had prepared me for many things - this too.  Poor Aunt Donna, she called me the next day and was like, "Is your Dad having a breakdown?!?!"

So, here is how my life is going.  On the way back from skiing in BC, I played out road trip list and when Tim McGraw sang, "Be Humble and Kind" he referenced, "Visit you Grandpa as much as you can"....SERIOUSLY. I sobbed.  No one got it so it was fine, but crap, REALLY.

In any case, Science Fair is going on at Nolan's school.  He has been accepted into the hi-cap program.  Mason is doing smart and independent.

I promised you a Mason story, so here goes........Mason has been thrown in "like" a couple times.  Luckily, he talks to me about it.  I know that will end, but I am so thankful for if it now and so fearful when one of his friends googles my name and finds this......  In any case, I have given him advice which I think is real and good, but he has to live it.  And then there was this one moment that I will not give too much detail, but a girl that Mason likes hugged him.  It wasn't a normal hug.  It was a hug that showed that Mason could care for her and she would trust him.  My Mom was there and we have traveled a fair ways to see this game and I said, "Mom....."  "Yes, Angie, I miss a lot, but I am not missing this.  He is turning to a man."  Part of me died, but part of me was thankful.  I had done it.  There was a good girl that cared for him and he would care for forever.  That is a tough thing to see as a Mom, yet my Dad always said, "Bears runs their cubs up a tree and then walk away.  They hear there cries, but the continue to walk away.  How hard is that?!?!  But, I guess, it is the only way they can learn."

Daddy this is hard......thank you....I love you....and I miss you......


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Yes, I am still on this side of the grass......

Many people have left me messages - especially those not on Facebook, to say.....You okay?  You still on this side of the grass?  Well, yes, I am......unfortunate for you....

So, life was goin' along and the boys were adjusting to new schools, and I was adjusting to driving and in the car 3 hours a day.  Grant's business was doing better, we were going on a family cruise in December since the Alaska Cruise went so well and then, my Dad started coughing during meals. Mom and I thought it was weird and she scheduled an appointment with the doc.  One thing lead to another and, when one of my appointments canceled I decided to show up to my Dad's appointment.  I had a weird Mom has not had to take care of many old people and I thought.....what if they bring out the DNR form???  She had never dealt with this.  I had a few times.  And there is was, "He cannot take anything by mouth."  DNR form in tact.  Doctors covering the butts and trying to help us at the same time.  My Mom was stunned.  I had to help her through every question and I also challenged all the docs.  I was never putting my Dad in the hospital the day before Thanksgiving with this.  That is crap.  He was able to eat.  So we changed his diet.  Doctors did not comply but they let me.  Dad went home.  In December, he got a feeding tube.  He was treated at Judson Park for a while and then Mom and I got trained on the feeding tube and we took him home.  It was exhausting, but he loved being home with the dog.  Then one Friday night he pulled out his feeding tube.  THIS WAS ACTUALLY weird.  He was so careful with it for a month.  We went to the ER at 6pm on a Friday night.  They saw us at 11:00 pm and started firing off questions to us.  CLEARLY, THEY DO NOT KNOW WHO I AM.......I gave them a look and started to speak and they were all quiet.  CLEARLY, THEY ARE TEACHABLE.  My mom had put the tube back in at the house, but unfortunately it did not go where it needed to.  Talk about a trouper!  At that point, my Dad never left the hospital.  He was too weak to do another feeding tube surgery.  They met with him and that one thing that God gives us all is that one moment of clarity......he had it then and they explained everything to him and he said, in his pre dementia state, "I am done."  He knew I didn't want that to be the answer.  We would have had the same chemo, but his would have been developments and all.  I had to respect his decision, but I gave all the doctor's a bit of hell for taking so long...  It would not be me if I did not.  My Dad was cared for at St Joe's in Tacoma until he went to Hospice Care in Tacoma. He passed on the 16th of January.  We got to have a great weekend with him and Nolan watched Ride Along II with him the weekend before he died, in his bed, with all the favorite foods (which he coughed up), and my Dad loved it.  Mom was with him the rest of the weekend and when they said my Dad would probably be gone in the next 24/48 hours, I spoke to him from my Mom Cell phone because Nolan was sick and Mason and Grant were at a Hockey Tournament.  I said things to him I had never said.  I said, "I was proud of him and that is why I kept his name.  It wasn't out of disrespect for Grant, but respect for him."  Mom said, "Ang, he heard you.  He tired to get out of bed.  He heard you."  Nolan, my brave second boy, spoke to him too.  I ended with I would be there in the morning.  Morning never came.  At 5:30am on January 16th, he died.  I am sure he did it because he did not want me to come.  His Mom and him were very into, "This is YOUR life.  You take care of your own."  What they don't get, they were my own.  Life has been interesting since......planning a funeral for him is hard and easy.  I think I have it down.  Mom doesn't want to deal until the day.  I know we need to wait for the roads to be clear to Eastern Washington and all that plays in in my head is, "Prop me up against the jute box, when I die....."  The funniest thing that I think has happened is that when Mom, Donna (Mom's sister), and I were all together after his death we talked about our most vivid memory.  Mine - I was turning 10 and he and I LOVED the San Juans.  We went up to Anacortes and there was a small craft advisory, but my Dad turned to me and said, "Let's go now!  We will get out favorite camping spot!"  I was like, "Sure!"  Let's remember....this is how my family rolled....I knew NO DIFFERENT!  As we were going, I was hanging on to the seat, my dog was barfing in his kennel, we were taking on water and Dad was actually getting the life preservers out.....  I thought, "Nine years, that is a good run.  Didn't think I would make it this long...."  My Aunt made mention of a time on our trip IN THE SAME BOAT TO.  ALASKA where she thought we were all going to die...FYI - I was 2 and potty trained for the trip........there was no toilet.....Mom flew us home when we got to Alaska.......and then my Mom said, "I was never really afraid.  I never though we would die......"  Donna and I were like, "BECAUSE YOU FLEW US HOME FROM ALASKA!!!!"  Dad came home by himself.....

So there it is, I am digging out from ignoring EVERYTHING during my Dad illness.  The boys and Grant are doing well, and Mom is adjusting.  Insurance for the cruise was amazing and kind.  We will rebook in the future, after all, "Dad wanted us to go....."

It sure was nice to get away for skiing to Big White.  My family needed it and we found out again, how amazing life can be.

Next time....Mason and moments....