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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Angel Lisa

I have come out of my drug induced sleep enough to check my regular websites and email, and found that the woman I spoke about before, Lisa, is finally free of her pain. She passed away this morning at about 10am. She has had a long battle, documented on her site, www.lisawillsurvive.com if you are interested in reading about her. There is also a video clip on her website that is very touching.

Anyway, I think about Lisa, who was two years old than I am. I think about how extremely lucky I am, all in all. I can sit here and complain about the staples in my boobs, but really, I am here. I am here to celebrate life. Yesterday Claire made a drawing of our family. I thought by the movement of her pen that she was just scribbling. Then she handed me the paper and I just about cried. She drew four happy faces. Two eyes and a smile, two eyes and a smile, two eyes and a smile, two eyes and a smile. I am alive to see my little girl draw her first family picture. I am blessed. I am beyond lucky.

My heart goes out to Lisa's family. How horrible to watch her go, but at the same time, how wonderful that she is free. Rest in peace Warrior Princess Sister. Watch over the rest of us with loving eyes.

A cat with two heads!

kitty love

goofs

sisterly love

Easter morning

The girls with their babies

I'd Tell Ya, But I Don't Know

Yesterday went well. They gave me a little of the good stuff before I went into the operating room, which they have done before. It's good for the nerves. But what hasn't happened before is that is the last thing I remember. No, I take that back, I guess that happened before my TRAM surgery too. I don't remember a thing, conscious sedation is the way to go, my friends.

Now I say that I would love to tell you how they look, but something I did not know would be involved are staples. I have staples in my boobs. And stapled and stitched to my new party hats are these pretty yellow gauze pads that stick out by about an inch. Not really what I was expecting to see. I have about a three inch incision on both hips from the skin grafts, and they are actually the area that is most sore, since I don't have feeling in my boobs. That is a good, but bad thing, good because I don't have pain, bad because I don't know if I injure myself. Although I do have what seems to be some deep tissue pain in my boobs, but nothing the Darvocet can't beat up. The other kicker is that I can't get my boobs wet until my next appointment, which is next Thursday. Interesting. This very well could be a fun week. Or not.

Anyway, just wanted to update as much as I could. I had wonderful nurses, a very talented doctor, and I can't wait to see my accessories for real!

Friday, April 28, 2006

Party Hats--We Are So Gonna Party!

If you are a "Friends" fan, you will know what We Are So Gonna Party means. For those of you who are not a "Friends" fan, there's nothing dirty or naughty or gross or perverted about the phrase. It was just an episode where they thought they could party like they were in their 20's, but they couldn't. Anyway, we'll let that go.

Today is the day of nipples. Of party hats, of nips, of breast accessories, if I may. I am nervous and excited all at the same time, but my blood pressure was down to 130/84 yesterday. A small improvement. But I bet there is only one question on your mind.....

Is she wearing her lucky underwear?

OH HELL YEAH!!!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

There I Go Thinking Again

Ugh. My brain just won't stop tonight. I think partly because I am the only one up , and although Raymond is on TV right now, it seems to be more of a background noise for me than anything.

I check up on the online support group to see how everyone is doing, and as of late there have been a lot of posting about a woman named Lisa. Like her husband said on their website, she has one foot planted on earth, the other is floating in heaven. Her time here is very limited. She is leaving behind two small kids, a loving husband, and a great support network of friends and family. We all know that no one said that life is fair, but that is so hard to accept. Cancer is creeping up all over the place, and if it's not cancer, it's the fear of it. Does she have it? Will he survive? What the hell?!?

It's been over two years. Two years. I can hardly believe it. There are days that I feel the world stopped moving for these two years. There are days that I am still pregnant with Nadia, waiting for her birth, waiting to have our family grow. Obviously cancer did not stop these things from happening, but it sure has put a spin on things. I often wonder what kind of parent would I be if I hadn't had cancer. Would I have more patience? Would I be less robotic when it came to some things? Would I know my kids better? So much time has been taken away from them, and it's so unfair. There were so many moments in the past 2 years that I was just too tired, too sad, too wrapped up in myself to focus on my kids. What kind of damage has been done because of this? I will never know. A newborn does not understand in the middle of the night when an adult feels like they are going to vomit. All they understand is that they are hungry. A two year old cannot grasp the pain involved with having all of these scars, and how much it hurts to get a foot in the belly or a hit on the chest. They cannot understand that there are days that I look at them and just want to cry because I know that someday I will have to explain all of this to them. How do you do that?

I remember when I was almost done with radiation, and my burn was at it's worst. I was blistering, I was bleeding, and if anything touched my skin, it felt like fire. Dion had gone to the store and gotten aid for sunburn. I picked out an aloe product, thinking, hey, aloe. What's better than that on a burn? I dabbed it on, and immediately starting crying. After turning the bottle over, and seeing that there was alcohol in it, I about fell over. Alcohol is not good for open wounds. Claire was a a little over 2 years old at that point. As I frantically tried to get the aloe off without doing more damage and causing more pain, I wil never forget Claire's reaction.

"Mommy's crying now?"

That's all she said. I sat on the couch and just bawled, not only from the physical pain, but the emotional pain. That was Claire's first understanding of my pain, but certainly not her last. My poor poor Claire. And Nadia. I do not want to be the cause of their worries, their greatest fears. The other night Claire said she was afraid of the monsters in her room. I told her that I would never let any monster scare her. That I was there for her. I hope cancer doesn't make me a liar to my kids.

I will admit that there is a part of me that is kind of nervous about this Friday. I know I can handle the pain, I know I can handle the blood and junk that goes with surgery. I don't know if I can handle being "done". There's nothing else to do. Nothing else to fix. I have 2 more weeks of treatment. That will be the final stage. That will be when the fun really starts. That will be when my world starts turning again. Am I ready for that? I have no clue. What I do know though, is I don't have a choice. Ready or not, it's going to happen. So the next question is what do I do so that I can live my life in the most productive way possible? Does it mean that I go out of my comfort zone? Maybe. Does it mean that I change things in my life? Probably. I have a lot to sort out, and even more to figure out. Some day my puzzle will be complete.

A Tad Emotional

I had my pre-op doctor's appointment today with Beth. Before you can have a procedure, you have to have a clean bill of health. Now keep in mind that last Thursday and Friday Claire had the flu, last night Nadia had a fever, and as I type this at 7:30pm, Dion is in bed. I am doing my best to stay healthy, which is a hard thing to do when you are surrounded by sickies. I think my best bet is to run around the house spraying disinfectant on everything. Phones, remotes, door handles, my body. Anything to keep me healthy for Friday. For you see, Friday is the big day. The day of new nubbins, the day of highbeams, the day I will be smuggling raisins again, the day I done get myself a new pair of nipples. Yahh-hoooo! Apparently I am pretty excited. I know this not only because of what I am writing, or the speed that I talk about it, but also because of my appointment today.

I have been blessed with my mom's side of the family's low blood pressure. The only times it has ever been high have been in stressful situations. I should throw in here when I gave birth to Claire (can you say HELL?), my blood pressure dropped to 90/50, which they kind of frown upon. But my God, I earned that blood pressure, and I think it was trying to balance me for when Claire was older and she is sending my blood pressure through the roof. Anyway, I go in today and have to have the vitals, etc done. Hmm. 130/100. That can't be right. That's awfully high for me. She tried it again. Hmm. 132/100. Well crap, it got worse. And just for fun, I had Beth do it again. Same darn thing. She encouraged me to give my oncologist a call since I am still in treatment, so I did. Poor Dr Goetz. I told him before that I was a bad penny penny, for which he replied, "No, you're more like a wooden nickel." Our conversation went something like this...

"So I was told to call you about my blood pressure, and I actually listened."

"Ok, I don't think that Herceptin has been proven to cause high blood pressure."

"Ok, so here's the thing. I had a pre-op visit and I am supposed to get nipples on Friday and I think, in my professional opinion, that I am just excited to have nipples."

Silence.

"Uhh....no comment."

Huh. There's that fine little line that I think he felt he should not cross, never mind that every time I go in for an exam there's more groping going on than in the produce isle. Gotta love breast cancer.

Monday, April 24, 2006

The World According To....

I have spent that last two years being extremely selfish. It wasn't until tonight that the reality of cancer struck me. I have gone on and on, complaining that I have to live with the fear of recurrence for the rest of my life, which is true. That is something that I have to deal with, and somehow learn to accept. What I haven't thought about though, is Dion also pays the price of my cancer.

He watched me lose body parts, he watched as I struggled to not throw up after treatment, he watched as my hair fell out in chunks, he watched as my chest bled from the radiation treatments and made the hour long drive to pick up medicine pads that only Mayo had. He did that for me. He did that for my pain. He has held my hand through each check up visit and has visibly reacted when the doctor has said, "Everything looks great!". He sat and waited the 6 and a half hours for me while I got body parts replaced. I could go on and on telling you all of the things that Dion has done for me and my cancer, and I think I have talked about them before. What I haven't talked about though is I am not the only one that cancer will effect forever. Dion, too, has to live with the fear of my recurrence. He also has to wake up each day, worrying, wondering if today is another safe day for us. I am sure that a lot of his emotions are still raw, hovering just below the surface, how do you forget some of the things that we went through? How do you forget the rollercoaster from hell? How do you forget being told that your wife will die from this disease, only to be told a few weeks later, that, no, it hasn't come back, there had been a mistake. How do you recover from all of that? I don't want to know what it is like to watch my spouse suffer, fight for his life, battle, battle, battle. I do not envy him, I am amazed by him.

For these two years I have been spending my time fighting for life. I haven't had a lot of down time, I haven't had a lot of thinking time (although that is mostly on purpose), but worst of all, I have not given Dion the respect he deserves, the acknowledging of his fears for me. I haven't taken the time to think about someone else but myself, think about all of the others involved, my parents fear of losing a child, my siblings fear of losing a sister, my nieces and nephews fear of losing an aunt, my uncles fear of losing his niece, all of these people I have swept under the rug because I was so worried about how I was going to survive.

Cancer does many things to a person, some good, some bad. But it never crossed my mind, until now, that cancer has made me selfish. Cancer has made me forget that there are others around me, suffering for me, because of me. I always had a feeling of guilt because I was the root of people's sorrow, I don't think that will ever change. But now, I can see past myself, and see that those around me are trying to make it each day too. They are fighting for my life. They are fighting so that I can live. They are fighting when I am too weak to do it myself.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What Seemed Like A Good Idea

In la la land, it should have been a blast. In a simple world there would have been laughter and smiles, and fun for all. But this was reality. And a crappy one at that. We made the decision to go to Chuck E Cheese. The land of all that is wrong in this world. The land of golden coins, screaming children, paper tickets and psychotic adults. Yes, I said psychotic adults. I could deal with the screaming children, both of mine were active participants in that at one time or another. It was the adults that drove me nuts, and here is why.

It was hard enough pushing our way through the hoards of people and kids at The Chuck, it was hard enough talking Claire out of trying to shoot basketballs at the big hoop, it was hard enough staying on the opposite side of that rodent who scares the heck out of our kids. But the biggest challenge was trying to not knock down some parent (and I have to say that every time it was a mom and not a dad that I am referring to) who has decided to spend the day at The Chuck, not encouraging their kids to wack one more mole, or munch on some sub-par pizza. No, they came to the Chuck for one thing and one thing only. They wanted to play games, damn it. And don't get in their way. They have a slight look of craziness in their eyes as they drop the golden coin into the slot, and wait for the machine to come to life. And it does. Every time. And they have to win. Every time. If they do not win the appropriate amount of tickets, they stand at the machine, with no regard to people waiting in line, and drop another gold coin into the machine. I honestly could not believe my eyes today. I saw a fancy lady with her leopard print shirt standing at a machine for at least 15 minutes, feeding the coins, pulling the tickets, and handing them to her kid, or what I assume was her kid. Coin after coin after coin went into the machine. She made a casino look like nothing. I can just imagine her at one. Yikes.

Another experience was at the Skeet Ball game, which Claire loves. Now, I will admit that I am a big fan of it too (I hit 100,000 points, woo hoo!), but Claire does the majority of the ball rolling, and we end up with some tickets. Then there was the crazy lady next to us. I don't think she even had any kids there with her. I could tell by watching her fluid motion of rolling the ball, grabbing another one, rolling that, etc etc, that she had done this before. I believe that she had, in fact, done this many many times. The look on her face was that of pure insanity as she rolled ball after ball and ticket after ticket came out of the machine. More coins, more coins, roll, roll roll, ticket, ticket, ticket. Psycho, psycho, psycho. I had decided that we would finish up with the Skeet Ball game as fast as possible, and move on to less crazy territory. But we weren't fast enough. It was in slow motion that Claire tried to roll a ball, and it jumped and went into the crazy lady's alley. Her zone was tainted. We had messed up her mode. We were going to hell. And the only reason I knew that was because her face told me so. Double yikes. I just hoped that she wasn't nuts enough to start screaming at us, waving her hands in the air above her head. We were lucky. She made some odd noise, that I guessed to mean that she was upset, and we quickly grabbed our 3 tickets and went to the other side of The Chuck.

What I am really wondering though, is what these crazy adults think they can "purchase" with these tickets? Is there a store somewhere that in exchange for Chuck E Cheese tickets, they will receive a new car, fully loaded, and maybe a down payment on a house? Or gold! I bet there is a place where they can get some quality gold in exchange for tickets. I peeked at what was available at the ticket exchange counter, and saw things like candy, stickers, pencils, party favors, etc. Nothing worth shedding blood over. Nothing that would make me push aside children to play some games. The million dollar question tonight though is this. Do all of those crazy adults know this fun little fact too? Judging by how they were acting, I don't think so.

Friday, April 21, 2006


That is a close up of my boob. Keep in mind that my big tumor was 4cm, and that as most of us know, tumors are an irregular shape, such as the red paint is.
This is of the whole cast. I am talking about my left boob, the right boob as you look at the picture.

Do Do Do Dooo Do Do Do Doooo (Twilight Zone)

This will be my epiphany post of the year. I will be adding two pictures to go along with the following.

The other morning I was trying to get Claire up to go to day care. I usually sit on her bed, rubbing her back, ticking her feet, all in an attempt to get her up and moving. It is a difficult job, and as she gets older, it is getting harder. A great foreshadow of what is to come.

Anyway, When I was 8 and a half months pregnant with Claire I did a body cast and then painted it. Obviously I have had it for 3 and a half years, I have looked at it many times, but never in the way that I looked at it the other day. It is in Claire's room, and I happened to glance at it and my breath was taken from me. I noticed the painting that I had put on it. The red area is exactly where my biggest tumor was located. I even went over to the cast and held it up to my body to confirm it. I held it up to my new body, looked down, and quickly put it back on Calire's dresser. Was there subconscience painting going on? Was it a coincidence? I have no clue. All I know is that it caught my attention. Here are the pictures.

I Am On My Way

It is Happy Friday for most people out there, but for me it is, Happy I Have A Kid With The Flu Friday. All in all it has gone pretty well today. Claire threw up right before I picked her up from day care, and then again at 9:30 last night. The last one was a doozy, since she ended up bursting a blood vessel in her eye, which I found out from my mom that I used to do the very same thing. Genetics. They are so interesting. Or maybe it is just by chance. I don't know if there is a Burst Vessel in the Eye gene out there.

Anyway, Claire has been on the couch most of the day, and has gotten a tiny bit of food and liquid into herself. Her poor little eyes just look like she isn't feeling well. It's never fun to have a sick kid, and I am hoping that it doesn't get to the rest of us. I have dealt with the flu three times this fabulous season, so I think it really should leave me, and the rest of my family, alone.

Yesterday I had my follow up appointment with my plastic surgeon. I was actually supposed to go in 6 months ago, but, well....anyway, it was a nice visit and we talked about the final outcome of my new chest and tummy. I guess at the time I didn't realize that with all of my factors (delayed reconstruction, bi-lateral TRAM, and radiation) that the outcome might not have been as good as it has been. I told him that I have never looked at my chest and thought, "Why did I do this?". I have always been pretty happy with how they turned out, minus one area which he said is very east to fix. At the time I was asked about nipple reconstruction, and at the time, I thought, nope. I am done with procedures, they don't matter anyway, I don't have any feeling on my boobs, so why bother? I got an answer recently, well, within the last few months. And the answer came from my little girl Claire.

I often undress and dress in front of the girls, but it wasn't until recently that I saw the look on Claire's face. I could tell that as she looked at my chest, she knew that something was not right. I could see it in her eyes. I know that I will never look perfect again, but the look on her face just made me sad. I think this whole cancer experience is going to be a hard one to explain to the girls as it is, but for me to look so different, in a world where every thing is about looks....I don't know. For me, I guess it was never an issue, until I saw how Claire looked at me. Funny how the look of a 3 year old would effect me that much. Is that vain? I have no idea. I just know that I want things to be as easy for these girls as possible, and part of that is for me to look somewhat normal. Plus at the retreat we shared our boobs with each other and I saw what I wanted. So I asked my surgeon about it, and here's what will be happening next Friday.

I am getting me some headlights fashioned! Two brand new nipples fo me! He will be taking skin grafts from my hips and making both the areola and the nipple from those pieces. Rock on! The funny guy tried to talk me into having it done in his office....I about fell over when he said that to me. Then we had the following conversation.

"You know, you would probably have more discomfort having a cavity filled than having this done."

I laughed and replied, "Funny you should say that since I have to be sedated for dental work too."

No way, no how, would I like to partake in this procedure in any kind of conscience what so ever. He said some woman watch. Watch?!? Why the hell would they do such a thing? Why would you want to watch them cut away patches of your skin and sew them back into a different location? Why?!? Who?!? Who are these crazy women? Not me, by God. I want the good stuff. I want to feel like I just stepped out of a bar not thinking about what is about to happen, talking with the nurses and doctors like we had been friends for years and we were just going to hang out together for a bit, and in the end, voila! I have nipples! I did tell my talented doctor that I did not want high beams at all times. Nothing too big and gross, and he said that he has never had a patient complain that her nipples were too big. Phew! That was good news. As I sit an re-read what I have written, I feel my leg bouncing away under the desk. You see, there still is a little bit of fear with the completion of my body.

I cannot control the superstitions that float around me with this cancer. There's my lucky underwear, there are certain dates that I won't schedule appointments for, the whole issue of taking the port out, and now this. The fear of finally getting to point where I am "done", and something else happening. Something to where I have to have my flaps (that's what the new boobs are called, I'm still not sure why they don't just call them boobs) removed, and that would really just suck. But, I am going to try not to think that way, and just enjoy what I have.

So that's that. I am on my way to being as complete as I can be, and really that's all I can ask for. That, and winning a lot of money. I could probably ask for that too. But for now, we'll just star with nipples and call it a day.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I Tried, I Really Did

I have found that as I get older I grow a little bit more impatient with people in general. I would like to say that it doesn't happen every day, but it does. I would love to say that it only happens once a day, but it doesn't. But in my defense, I really don't think that a lot of people out there are thinking to their full capacity. We have been given these wonderful things called brains, and we just don't use them for all they are worth. I include myself too, so don't get all grumpy. I have had, in fact, many times that I did not think before I said or did something, and I know there was someone out there who cursed me or shook their fist in anger at me. So fair is fair. I am writing about today, and all those not so smart people who pissed me off today can't stop me.

The day started out kind of rough with a phone call, on my day off, on the day that I have to trek to Mayo, at 6:00AM from one of my workers. Fine. Whatever. I kind of went back to bed, but not for very long since it woke up Claire, who in turn woke up Nadia, who in turn, woke me up again. Wonderful. Great way to start the day, although it was not as bad as one of Dion's co-workers calling at 5:30 one morning. You should be happy you didn't speak to me that day.

The hour long drive to Mayo was uneventful until it was time to turn into the parking ramp. There is a left turn lane for doing such a thing, and I piled in behind all of the other cars to wait our turn to get our ramp ticket. Except for one old lady who I guess has earned the right to cut in front of a bunch of us. She did this by nudging her way in from the middle lane into the left turn lane. It was as though we were playing of game of "Who is Sicker?"

I have anemia, I go first!

No! I have Restless Legs Syndrome, I go first!

But wait! I have the cancer card to play, I go first!

Screw all of you! I have osteoporosis and a blue card baring a person in a wheel chair. I go first!

And she did. She somehow found her way into line, ahead of me. Ok, I can live with that I guess. If the old lady really feels that she needs to get into Mayo faster than the rest of us, she must have a good reason. I will let that slide without me giving "The Eye" to her.

All of the elevator rides were uneventful, which is good, my check in was uneventful, which is better, AND I got an end seat in the treatment room finally! I think I have mentioned my hate of the middle seat. I hate it. I grind my teeth if when I get back to the treatment room and they seat me in the middle seat. But that's another story.

What was eventful was the conversation I heard next to me. A little history, when you get chemo, you get a bunch of different pills to try and get the nausea at bay. Different people react differently to them, as they do for the actual treatment. So there's this older gentleman sitting next to me, and what I assume is his wife off to the side. This is what she said to the nurses.

"And what did you give him? He was so wired, is there something else you could give him?"

Something else? The general cancer population feels that if you can get through chemo without throwing up, then hell's bells, life is good. Who the hell cares about how wired someone gets? Obviously that woman did. We wouldn't want her life to be turned upside down or be put at an inconvenience would we? I looked at the older gentleman who had a scared look on his face. He said to his wife,

"Please don't tell them to change my pills. They are working."

You should be proud that I did not say anything at this point. I think honestly I was still in shock at what that woman said. Wired. Idiot. Come on, what a dumb thing to say. Then I looked back at the older gentleman, and pitied him not only for what he has to battle in his body, but what he has to battle at home. Plus he had the middle seat.

Fast forward to Quizno's in the subway level of Mayo. I found that there's this whole area of Mayo that I didn't even know existed, and now I have to get Quizno's every week or bad things happen. Ok, they don't happen, but that Prime Rib Sandwich is SO good, as is their broccoli & cheese soup. Mmmmmm.....soup (or 'noodle soup' if I were Joey from Friends). Now my experiences in Quizno's reminded me of a rapid fire machine gun. That's how fast things were thrown at me from not so smart people. That place is always busy and it is a challenge to find seating. I was lucky to have seen almost the entire staff of my dentist finishing up their tasty lunches, so I was able to get that table. But not before some crazy-I'm-hip-with-the-times lady decided that she needed to get to the soda machine first. FIRST! She literally took a step around me, and then in front of me. It was all done in one fluid movement and it happened before I knew it. I got cut. What the hell? I was pretty sure she was a Mayo employee by the way she was dressed, and I thought I caught a glimpse of the coffee brown name tags they wear, and that just made me more angry. I stood there for a second, contemplating how I got cut in line FOR THE SECOND time today, and all I could come up with, was this....

I shook my head.

Weak. What's happened to me? I will say though that I was really quite hungry at this point and what mattered was finding a table to sit at. Which from what I said before, you know that I did. I had a huge table all to myself. Three chairs. Ample arm room. A place for my purse, besides the floor. Some of the tables in there are like those at Applebee's or a bar. You know, really high tables with bar stools to sit on. Across from me, at the bar table, was a younger woman, probably younger than I am, sitting waiting for her boyfriend who is doing the manly thing by getting the food. Shuffling up behind me are the golden girls minus two, looking for a place to sit. Yeah, good luck with that, Dorothy & Rose. I only got my table because I had connections. So I did the nice thing. With a sweep of my hand, I gestured that they were welcome to sit at my giant table. I would share with them with open arms. I think I heard harps being strum at that point. Until the strings broke with a giant SNAP! I had made a faux pax. I could tell by the look on their faces. They looked at me like I had sprouted horns and was trying to get them into my hell mobile for a quick ride to eternity. I apparently wanted their souls and they were not willing to give them up. At least not without Blanche & Sophia. The younger girl slid off of the stool and before she could say boo, these two old bats were climbing up onto the bar stool to eat their tasty treats. We watched them, and I did not laugh out loud, even though I wanted to, and the girl asked if she could put her stuff down at my table, to which of course I said sure. So Dorothy & Rose, who could not share a table with me, sat way up high, eating in silence.

My last favorite person story of course takes place in Quizno's (still). I had my spot at the giant table (young girl and her boyfriend found an open table at this point) and was enjoying my food, when I noticed that there was a man and a woman who did not come together, but were in line together and knew each other from Lord only knows. This woman had her back to the sandwich makers for I swear at least 2 minutes, chatting away with the guy behind her. I heard the worker ask her if it was for here or to go, white or wheat, do you want to eat here at all?!? Ok, I added that last part, but I was saying that in my head. I made eye contact with the worker saying through visual contact, "I know, I know. I can't believe you have to put up with these people too." She finally turned around and noticed that everyone behind the counter was waiting for little old her.

Hello! McFly?!?

So today, as you can see, was not a good day for dumb people. And I don't care what you say, these people acted dumb today. Maybe I should clarify that THEY are not dumb, but what they DID was dumb. Oh what the hell, they're dumb. And that's all there is to it.

My Dear Sweet Husband....

...not only was fine with me going out with my mom last night, but he ALSO folded the much talked about clothes. They are sitting in a nice little pile on the folding table, so happy to be folded, but not as happy as I am that they are folded.

So there you go. There's really not much more to write about with this subject except this...

Dion....thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing that. You know, with all of the eBay that we do that it is like Christmas almost every day around here. I think, in fact, that we will be getting a package today, tomorrow at the latest, in the mail. :) Love you!

Monday, April 17, 2006

One Good Flush Deserves Another

I have a problem. I know that I have a problem, and I can admit it openly. If you ask me, I will answer honestly, with no fabrications. I have a phobia of public toilet flushers/handles. To me, I can imagine all of the grime, crud, grossness, that is living on that silver handle, just waiting to get onto my hand and then into my system. Gross.

Even the fact that I wash my hands after using the toilet doesn't stop me from feeling disgusting with the single flush of a pot. Whoosh! Why hello germs! Feel free to make yourself at home on my hands. I don't mind. Ugh. It always amazes me in a public bathroom when women leave the stall, stop to fluff their hair in the mirror, then continue on their way without washing their hands. Really! Could you even do a courtesy rinse? Pretend to wash your hands by running them under the water? Even that would make me less inclined to involuntarily shiver. Honestly, why take that moment of fluffing up the 80's metal rock hair and not do a little rinse of the hands? Just one rinse that says, "I care. I care enough to splash some water on my hands". Or even this, how about you turn the water on and pretend for the sake of the rest of us, that you are washing your hands?

I should be sensitive though. I do know that there are a few people out there who have an allergy to water, or soap, or paper towels or whatever, and for those people, I will say I am sorry for complaining. But for the rest of you who just don't have to time to kill nasty germs, what can I do to convince you to so? If I told you that millions of bacteria got on your hands with each flush of a toilet, would that have an effect? How about if I told you that some people are a little "messy" when it comes to their bathroom habits, and you are in turn picking up that "mess" and taking it with you where ever you may go? Would that make you stop to wash your hands?

If you are like steel and those things do not scare you, maybe this will. I have many pairs of shoes, just ask Dion. I have some that have been through dog poop (thanks Sammie), some that have killed bugs, some that have skipped to my Lou, some that have climbed trees, worked in the yard, walked through the stores, and stood in puddles of God knows what. With all of this in mind, knowing that the bottom of my shoes might not be the cleanest things in the world, you should know that I flush the toilet in public rest rooms, with my foot. That's right. I don't even touch the silver handle, I know too much to do so. Gas stations, foot flush. Stores, foot flush. Doctor's office, foot flush. I will lift my foot to any silver handle that allows me to. Restaurants, foot flush. Bars, most definitely foot flush. You can see where I am going with this.

What I did not know, however, was that I was inadvertently teaching Claire some tricks of the trade. So much so, that that other day I went into the bathroom upstairs, after Claire did her thing, and witnessed her flushing the toilet with her toes. Her Toes! How could a parent be more proud of their kid?

A Retraction

I am going on record to say that Pat, Dion's co-worker is an amazing computer guru who could find my blog site even in a power outage. I am also going to state that he can not coordinate multiple household items in a way that I am extremely jealous of.

So, to summarize, Pat cannot coordinate any room given to him, and he is very good at the computer.

Now stop calling me names, Pat!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Unfolded Laundry Part Two

This would be a follow up to a previous post which I proclaimed that I refuse to fold the clothes that were left when I was gone last weekend, and true to my word they are still sitting on the folding table. In a pile. Getting more and more wrinkled by the minute. Just sitting there, taunting me, daring me to fold them and put them away. But I will not. I am still refusing. I think that's where all of my socks are though, so I have had to reach into the vault and pull out some old sad looking once-were-white socks. But I will not fold that pile of clothes.

Today, I happen to mention to Dion that I refused to fold that pile. Here's how our conversation went (as a disclaimer, I cannot remember word for word what was said, and I am only stating this because Dion will tell you that that was not exactly what he said to me. Now, that may be true, but the gist of the story will still be there. Ha Dion!)

"And I refuse. I didn't do it and I will not fold those clothes." said Sue.

"Huh. I was wondering about that." said Dion. "But really, you should think of it this way, I did that as a favor. I did part of the job for you."

Hold the phone! What just came out of his mouth? He did that as a favor? Interesting. I responded with,

"Ok, tomorrow night when you come home from work I will have half of your dinner ready, then you can finish cooking the rest. And by the way, I will not wash anymore of your clothes until that pile is folded."

A gasp from the crowd! OHHHHH! But that is actually a lie because I have clothes in the washer and dryer right now and I am pretty sure some of his are in both machines. Damn it.


It was at that moment that he walked out of the room, not too happy with my analogy. So, in honor of that, I have been thinking of other things that I could just to the halfway mark, and present them to Dion. Now, keep in mind that I have a feeling that my number one fan, Charlie will be reading this before my husband, and I am counting on him to inform Dion of what is to come. I would love to say that his other co-worker, Pat, is a true Sue Blog follower, but I am not sure that Pat knows how to find my blog. I have to be careful though, because Pat has a habit of nick-naming people, so for the sake of that........Pat is wonderful and a great guy who knows how to decorate way better than I ever could. So I count on Charlie. Good old Charlie. He works with Dion so every once in a while he'll comment on something I have written that has to do with Dion, and D will come home ranting about my interpretation of how he cleans toilets. Which in and of itself is not true. I have never talked about how he cleans toilets. Go ahead and look through the whole blog, but I will save you time by telling you that I have not talked about that subject. I did quote him about when he said he would clean the bathroom, but nothing specific about toilets.

I will say that I think Dion is getting nervous as I sit here pecking away at the keyboard, he just mentioned something about having to word it "just right". So with that motivation, here goes my list.

I already mentioned dinner, but it's worth mentioning again.

When he needs razors and shaving cream, I will come home with Veet, and you know my history with Veet.

When he asks me to mail an eBay package, I will deliver it to the post office door step, then leave, laughing the whole way home.

When paying the bills, I will write out the check, and leave it on the counter, hoping the magic bill paying fairy will take care of the rest.

When shopping for food, I will buy for example, cereal, but no milk.

If and when we get another bat in the house, I might not be able to catch it like last time.

I suppose I could go on and on, but my brain is tired, and I probably seem like enough of a witch to the general public. This is not to say that Dion doesn't do anything around the house. Just tonight he made dinner for all of us. But that statement he said earlier just about killed me, so I had to write about it tonight.

Also as a follow up, I have been spending some more time reading or napping when the girls are napping, and I feel the general well being of the house slipping away. I feel guilty not doing things that need to be done. I have a hard time sitting here now actually, because the buzzer for the dryer went off, and we all know who ISN'T going to fold the clothes. That leaves me. So, now I must go and finish the last few loads before I go to bed and start the routine all over again.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Adventures in The Bathroom

Ah, the toilet training years. If you have walked this delicate walk, I commend you. I will say that we have had a little break in the whole Training Adventure, but we needed it after Claire. We need quite a few breaks after many things that Claire does. Her sense of adventure never sleeps, she insists on learning things the hard way, and she is so funny at times that I just don't know how to respond to some of the things she says. But, like everything else Claire does, Nadia needs to do too. And while the whole training adventure with Nadia has been a little easier, it is none the less work.

"Mommy, I poopy. I need to go pah-eeee!"

This is said AFTER she has pooped and she doesn't understand that we really need to deal with that issue before meandering to the potty. But that is another story. Let's get back to Claire....

I will admit to having the huge fear of losing the security of diapers and pull ups. The fear of yellow river a flowin' in public. I can deal with it at home, I have cleaning supplies, lots of clothes, but no dignity since I don't need it at home. But at say, Walmart, the fear of hearing "Clean up in the toy department" haunts me. You can understand then, my hesitation when we take the girls to the nursery at church. A yellow river at church? What could be more nerve racking than that? The thought of someone tapping me on the shoulder during the service because of Claire making a different type of donation, is something my little brain just can't delete. So here's what I do. Claire and I make a pit stop in the potty before service as to try to elude the pee pee dance for strangers. Here's one of our experiences....

The bathroom by the nursery has yellow walls, which I find ironic, and just one stall. That from get go is enough to make a waiting toddlers mother nervous. But ok, we can deal with that. Claire had already argued that she didn't have to go, so the wait should be ok. I am also trying to impress on the fact that people really don't like seeing upside down heads of children at their feet while they are try to do their thing. That is a work in progress. So of course, Claire bends at the waist and takes a peek. She pops up and says,

"There are two girls in there."

To which I respond....SHHHHHHH! One day Claire will understand the importance of bringing a friend with you to the bathroom, but I might have to suggest that she go into the stall alone. Although, I suppose there's the possibility that the girls were sisters. Who knows?

They finish up and come out to wash their hands, and Claire and I go into the stall. I get her all prepared to use the potty, when she proclaims,

"PEEEE-YOU!!! It stinks in here! It smells like poopy! Yuck! PEEEE-YOU!!"

It was obvious that the dual potty girls had, umm, well, made a donation, and yes, I was amazed at the aroma, but after Claire said that out loud, with the girls still in the room, I had to cover my mouth. I didn't want to laugh out loud and take the risk of giving them a complex so they can never poop in public again, I am certain that some point in my life that happened to me, and I still carry that fear with me, although I am getting better. Yes, I know, too much information. But we should be sensitive for those of us out there, and I have a feeling that there is more of us out there than people will admit to.

Anyway, Claire never did go potty that time, which was ok with me because we really did need to get out of there if for no other reason, so I could laugh out loud. And that was one of our many Adventures in The Bathroom. I know you envy me.......

Thursday, April 13, 2006

So Goes Life

I am supposed to be seeing the plastic surgeon today, in a half an hour to be exact, but he was on call last night and is still in emergency surgery from whatever happened last night. Dang it. I was really looking forward to today's appointment, and now I am just stuck at home all day. So goes life.

Ok, my head is still reeling from this past weekend, and often I find myself wondering if the other women at the retreat are having as hard of a time adjusting back to reality. I will say though that I have not cried in the past 3 days, which is wonderful for my puffy eye problem.

I went out to eat with a friend Tuesday night to try and sort through all that is bouncing off the walls of my head. I have found that there might be a little bit more going on inside that I was allowing myself to see or feel. I know that a tough time is coming with the end of treatment, I have been there before and it sucked. I can only hope that from the books I have read, my previous experiences, etc, that it won't be too bad. I find myself hovering between feeling if it's going to come back it's going to come back, and feeling paranoid of it coming back. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. So where do I go from here? That is the million dollar question.

So the question on the table Tuesday night posed by my friend revolved quite a bit on why I am constantly involved in one project or another. I didn't feel that what I was doing was that big of a deal. The only time that I can get things done is when the girls are asleep, for the most part, which is at night. There is no way that I could do all of the painting that I have done with the girls running around. I am a glutton for punishment, but I'm not dumb. Most of the time. So, why do I have a hard time doing nothing? Let's look at some facts....

Yes, there is a part of me that is rushing to get things done "just in case". But the fact remains that these things have to be done at some point or another. We have lived in this house for 2 years and I was tired of all of the whiteness. So I painted.

I have a strong feeling that if I don't do some things, they just won't get done. Dion will agree with that since I asked him last night what he would do if I just stopped doing some of the stuff I do. Would he notice? Would he do anything? Here was his answer...

"Well, I suppose if the bathroom got really gross I'd clean it."

So in turn, there's my answer. If I lean over to the right, I can peek into the laundry room and see the piles of clothes. Dirty clothes, clean clothes, mystery clothes. I am going on record that I am refusing to fold the clothes that when I was gone last week, were taken out of the dryer and put on the table. This is one of the reasons why I am busy all of the time. I think it just so happens that it does not allow me to think too much about things, which for me, at this point in time, is ok. Apparently the fear is that, if I never confront my brain, everything that is stuffed somewhere in me will eventually explode into a full fledged depression. If it hasn't already. But to be honest, I don't know where to even start with unraveling my thoughts and having them make sense. I think I am still recovering from the retreat, trying to re-group my thoughts, trying to find a way to move on. As Beth said, I am sort of in limbo land. Where do I go from here? How do I pick up the rest of the pieces, put them in my pocket, and keep on walking? How do I live, productively, with the thought of recurrence nibbling at my brain for the next 40 years or so? How do I, in a few years, tell my kids about all of this and encourage them to not be scared, when I am scared myself?

I would like to think that moving on was as simple as mind over matter. I would like to say that I don't live in fear every day, I would like to say that life is what it was before, I would like to say that I am a better person than I once was. I would like to say a lot of things, but the thoughts seemed to be stuck inside of me, just kind of swirling around, waiting for the right moment to knock me over.

Why do I stay busy? I guess to stay alive.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

A Smidgin

It is almost 9:30pm on Sunday night, and I have the energy of a sloth, hence the title A Smidgin. That is the amount I will be able to write tonight folks, with the hopes of continuing in the very near future. I mentioned in previous posts that I was spending some time in the Dells for a Breast Cancer Recovery Foundation retreat. And that is exactly what I did.

There were seven of us and four staff members, located in a log home, on a lake, secluded, and ready to rumble. Well, not really rumble, but take the plunge into feelings that we had not been able to share with others, since they really had no idea what we were talking about. It is hard to explain to someone who has not looked death in the eye, what that demon looks like. It is hard to admit to feelings that you have, when you know the general population would look at you and suggest you get some professional help. It is hard to release some of the built up anger, sorrow, frustrations, self-pity, and doubt to others without them telling you to be positive, be positive. Be positive? I am. I am positive that I am pissed, sad, scared, and worried. But that is another story.

Anyway, I sat with these other women, never having to justify what I was feeling or why, not having to be embarrassed for the HUGE amounts of tears that fell from my eyes, being able to compare "new" body parts without feeling odd, just being. I said at one point to the group that it was so nice to feel normal. I was with a group of people just like me fighting the same demon, maybe in a different way, but in the end we were one. And it was exhausting. My eyes were swollen most of the retreat, I was emotionally drained, and yet, I finally felt like the missing piece of my puzzle was found and put into place. I laughed as hard as I cried, and I would not trade this experience for anything. I met some amazing people who will forever be in my heart. You cannot go through what we went through and not be tied somehow forever.

I drove home today, and as I was leaving the retreat center, my heart felt so light. I cried freely as I listened to the songs that were ours for the weekend, I felt like I was hovering home. Floating, really at peace. But the closer I got to home, the more reality set in. Knowing I had to go to work tomorrow, knowing that the girls and Dion need me, knowing that I am back in an environment where I am alone and no one understands. I went from feeling my heart smiling, to it becoming heavy again. I am hoping like hell that the contact I keep with these other young women will bring the smile back into my heart. But what I hope even more is that someday I can reach inside of myself, and be the one to make my heart smile. Someday. It will happen. That is what gets me through.

I know I said I would call people when I got home on Sunday, but I am hoping they understand that I just didn't have the energy to talk to anyone tonight. Tomorrow is a new day.....

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Pause For a Brew

Ahhhhhh....that is the sound I made after taking my first sip of beer. I have stopped for a moment to sit down, write a little, and have a beer. Mmmmm...beer. Anyway, I am packing for my trip to the Dells. It is my Breast Cancer Survivors Under 40 Retreat. To say that I need this break would be an understatement. But like I told Dion, I think emotionally it will be a challenging weekend. So, I am trying to get ready for that, along with packing my bags and hitting the open road tomorrow after taking the girls to daycare. Speaking of, I wish I could be a fly on the wall watching Dion with the girls for 4 days alone. I will say that, almost every time in the past 6 months that Dion has gone out of town, they have been very good, so maybe they will be for him too. Maybe. You never can tell with these girls. I had Nadia say to me,

"I'll be righ back, K? K?!?!"

And no, I did not misspell "right", that is how she says it. I wanted you, the reader, to have the full experience.

But anyway, here I am swimming in a mix of emotions for tomorrow. One of my goals is to sleep in past 8:00AM. That shouldn't be too hard to do, right? Man, I hope not, or I am one sorry person. Another goal is to get some tips from others, who know what I am talking about, dealing with moving on. I swear, just today I thought to myself,

"I had cancer. So what?"

Maybe that is a sign that I am finally moving on in life, that it doesn't have to stay frozen in time when I was 29 and diagnosed, that I can continue to grow as a person, that I can live. Is that what it means?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Little Green Wheelbarrow



We made a road trip this past weekend to Illinois. I bet you are wondering exactly how many hours that is in the car with a 2 year old and a 3 1/2 year old. 6. It's 6 hours. But with the benefit of our dual screen DVD player, it only felt like about 4. Ok, in all honesty, it wasn't too bad, the girls did pretty well, minus some normal toddler issues. But the fun was in the ride home. An experience like no other, to be cherished for years to come. And it all has to do with a little green wheelbarrow.

We take 90 pretty much all the way there and back. In this case, we were coming back from Illinois. Now, those of you who travel that route, know that there isn't a whole lot to look at, enjoy, get misty eyed over, so we've got to get our kicks from odd things. There was an old run down pick up truck that was ahead of us at one point on 90. It looked like it came out of the movie Outsiders, and in fact, the kids driving the car looked like they could have been in that movie too.

"Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold."

So The Outsiders cast are driving the pick up, hay flying out the back, and I thought to myself,

"Hay!"

I controlled myself though, and did not say this out loud. Dion would wonder what kind of a freak he was dealing with at that moment. If only he knew.....

At that moment I decided that it would be wise to not be behind this guy and his crap flying out of his truck. And actually, the whole trip there and back we had been behind people who were carrying things, and it just didn't feel right. Ever have that feeling? I have, and did, so I changed lanes. That move quite possibly saved my family, because, as you understand, not only was hay flying out of that pick up yesterday, but also a LITTLE GREEN WHEELBARROW!!! Except, it was of average size. It wasn't really little.

Now, you have not lived until you see a green wheelbarrel bouncing down the road, just to the left of you, and cars behind you screeching and swerving to miss the hit. Clunk clunk clunk clunk (you might think that was how the wheelbarrow sounded, but actually that was the sound of the ratty old pick up continuing on it's merry way down 90). A wheelbarrow. Rolling down highway 90. Trying to kill people.

So Dion and I decide to catch up to the truck and maybe clue them in to what has happened.

"Get a marker! Do you have a marker? They could read that on paper. What's the international sign for 'wheelbarrow'?"

Ok. International sign for wheelbarrow....I assumed that would be to hold your hands like you were pushing a wheelbarrow, but The Outsiders did not agree. I got a very confused look back at me. I looked at Dion, and suggested that maybe I roll the window down and scream at the guys. Dion did not think they would be able to hear me, but I thought it was worth a shot. I pushed the window button, and watched as Ponyboy, with one hand on the window handle, and the other one forcing the glass down, rolled/pushed his window down.

"WHEELBARROW!!"

Nothing. Blank stares. Not even a "WHAT?!?!" I tried again.

"WHEELBARROW!!!!!!!!"

A look at his friend, a quick turn to look in the back of the truck, and The Outsiders got it. I saw the driver mouth, "Oh sh*t" and slam on the brakes. Zip! We flew right past them, making me think about the scene from Top Gun where they slam on the brakes in the plane and the other guy goes right by. I must be in an 80's movie mood. What other movie could I compare the little green wheelbarrow to? Yeah, I'm not sure.

They guys ended up turning around. I wonder if they ever found their wheelbarrow. I hope so. It was a nice shade of green.