Saturday, October 29, 2005

A little bit of something and a whole lot of nothing

I just decided that it had been a while since I last posted anything, so here I am. I should be doing the laundry, cleaning, putting clothes away, blah blah blah, but here I sit.

I got a book today in the mail from my MIL, "Why I Wore Lipstick to My Mastectomy". It is at this point that I want to encourage anyone who knows a young woman who has been diagnosed with breast cancer to read this book. Keeping in mind that everyone is different, I did feel that this was a very true, accurate, heartfelt walk in the author's shoes (which is Geralyn Lucas, by the way). There were sections in the book that I felt I had written, there were sections in the book that I did myself these past 19 months, and there were parts in the book that I could never dream of doing. Ok, enough said. It's a wonderful book, I read it in under 3 hours.

Since my last posting I turned 31. I spent a majority of that day at Mayo getting treatment and my study shot. Nothing like a shot in the butt as a happy birthday present! I took cupcakes in for the nurses that had Care Bear rings on top, which they all wore. I could not, however, convince Bill the custodian to wear his. Last year for my 30th birthday I was doing radiation. This year treatment, next year I'm hoping for the year off. I will say though that all of the "happy birthday's" I received from the Mayo staff were sincere. I was also point out here that the spouse of another cancer survivor did come up to me and say "May you have many more". That was nice.

So I have a staff member who is out on maternity leave right now and I have picked up some of her hours. In case you forgot, I am the coordinator of a before and after school aged child care. Usually I am stuck in the office doing paperwork and all that fun stuff, but now the fun starts. I get to be with the kids. I get to do craft projects, play gym games, and most importantly, I get to make an impression on these kids. I get to build them up, I get to help them make the right choices, I get to point out when they have made the wrong choice and help them figure out what the right choice would have been. I can see it working. Anyway, I digress. So we were playing a game in the gym, two teams, one on each half of the gym. A first grade boy was getting a little competetive, enjoying the game, being a little cocky like they get. And he runs up to the center line where I was standing and says, "Come on Grandma! Show me what you got!!" Grandma? Did that kid just call me grandma? In which I replied, "Grandma?!?" and threw the ball at him and got him out. Oh yeah! Score one for Grandma! I cannot tell you how much fun I have playing games with these kids. I end up sweating and they wear me out by the end of the night, but it is so worth it. You know when you see a kid in the halls during the school day and he says, "Are you going to be here tonight?" and you say yep and they do a little fist pump action and say "Yes!!!", you are doing something right.

Well, Claire is awake, so I guess I will stop for now. I have a lot more thoughts that I want to get down, but they will have to wait, like so many other things in life.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Power: vigor; force; strength; a person or thing having great influence.

It is amazing what we let have power in our lives. How much control do we have? How much do we want? When I heard the word "power", I thought of things that were not only strong, but positive. All-powerful God, being strong, in control and such. In the past year and a half, the definition of power has not changed for me, but the context has. I try to not let my cancer have power over me, but lately I have found that to be an easy thought to have, but much harder task to do. Power. Control. Influence. Cancer.

In the past two weeks I have had numerous tests done. An MRI of my head because of headaches, an endometrial biopsy, and a biopsy of an area on my cancer side boob that was thickening. I used to think that the actual testing was the worst part since I am somewhat of a big old baby, but the waiting is the kicker. Hurry up and wait. And while you wait, you feel the control slipping away and landing in the lap of cancer. The "what if's" add up fast, and you try to not think about things such as losing your hair, rearranging work to do chemo, how you're going to tell your family that once again your body has failed you and the cancer has returned. Go ahead and say that cancer does not have any power over a person, but you would be wrong. The big question is what can you do with that lack of power? I suppose there are volunteer programs, and even the simple act of this blog. I guess the goal is to try and move the power into a positive direction. I will be the first to admit that I really don't have any answers. I do know that this past year and a half has been long, and it has been hard to muddle through at times, but we've made it. Not without worry and doubt, but we still have made it.

As far as my test results go, everything came out fine. The MRI showed nothing in my brain (hold the jokes, I have already heard them...comedians), the endometrial biopsy came back negative, and the thickening in my boob was necrosis, normal from radiation and TRAM surgery. I remember being told when I was diagnosed that it will get better and I won't think about cancer every day. At that time I thought, "Yeah, easy for you to say, I will NEVER not think about it all of the time." I am happy to say that now, I don't think about it all of the time, but I still worry every day what the future holds for me and my family. I worry about my husband not having a wife, my daughters not having a mom, my parents losing a child and my brothers and sister losing a sibling. How's that for power?

Dion just said that this was not a positive ending, and usually I am more positive. So I will end with this....

Why females should avoid a girls night after they are married...

The other night I was invited out for a night with "the girls."
I told my husband that I would be home by midnight, "I promise!" Well,
the hours passed and the margaritas went down way too easy. Around 3
a.m., a bit loaded, I headed for home. Just as I got in the door, the
cuckoo clock in the hall started up and cuckooed 3 times. Quickly,
realizing my husband would probably wake up, I cuckooed another 9
I was really proud of myself for coming up with such a quick-witted
solution (even when totally smashed), in order to escape a possible
conflict with him. The next morning my husband asked me what time I got
in, and I told him "Midnight." He didn't seem pissed off at all. Whew!
Got away with that one! Then he said, "We need a new cuckoo clock."
I asked him why, he said, "Well, last night our clock cuckooed three
times, then said, "Oh sh*t.", cuckooed 4 more times, cleared it's
throat, cuckooed another 3 times, giggled, cuckooed twice more, and
tripped over the coffee table and farted."

Thanks for the joke Beth!