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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Art of illness

It was a long hot hot hot weekend. Nadia recovered from her yuckiness right in time for Claire to get it, and she recover right in time for me to be run over by a Mack truck. I have had 2 migraines in life, and this was as close to having number 3 as I have been. You would be right if you suggested that I dipped into the good stuff to get me through, because I did. I had to. I had tried sinus stuff, but my head hurt worse when I woke up. Sinus stuff.....it's a cruel joke on me.

After everyone was healthy, we spent some time outside. But only a few hours a day since we were close to 100 degrees. 100. That's pretty hot. But what I do find a little funny is that Dion complains in the winter about how cold it is, then when it gets hot, he complains about that too. Poor Dion. He says that he would love to live in Hawaii, but I think it would be too hot for him. He needs to live somewhere where it is about 70 degrees all year long. I, on the other hand, would miss the seasons changing. Quite the conundrum.

Tonight Carol and I will be going to see "Cats" in the cities after having dinner somewhere. We haven't talked about where we are going to eat yet. Anyway, we saw this musical, lord, over 20 years ago I guess. I know I was in middle school, and I am pretty excited to go see it again. But right now, I am starving, so I have to go find something to eat...more to come.....

Friday, May 26, 2006

Some Things Really Won't Ever Change

We ended up taking Nadia to the doctor after another full day of having a high fever. Can you even believe that they did a test for strep? My little baby is old enough to get strep tests done! The initial report came back negative, but they are also doing it the old fashioned way, as my doctor called it, and letting it sit in it's little petri dish. Hopefully we won't get a call today. But our doctor did say that her little throat bled a little when he did the swab test. Yikes! No wonder she doesn't want to eat or drink anything. She did manage to "force" down some chocolate pudding this morning :)

Last night I had to go into work for an inservice about blood borne pathogens and a section on sexual harassment. How they paired those two subjects up, I have no clue. But the guy that does the Right to Know part has been doing it since I started here, if not longer. He knows his stuff inside and out. But let me tell you, even pros have slips of the tongue, and even adults such as I, can't control the laughter. I tried. I drank some water, snorted a little, and eventually gained my composure back. What could be so funny about an Employee's Right to Know speech? How about this.....

He was talking about first aide, and what if you happen across someone who has a major head injury? Well, first you call 911, no question about it. A head injury deserves 911. If I had a major head injury I would hope that someone around would call 911 for me. Ok. That is settled. So where is the "funny" in that, you ask? There isn't. It's what he said next that made me feel like a teenager back in health class. And I quote......

"After you call 911, grab your PP and run."

Grab your what? Did we bypass the ending and move onto the sexual harassment section? Why would one want to grab THAT and run? Run where? To the bathroom? Then what do you do with it? It seemed a little odd to me, until I figured it all out. Don't worry folks. He wasn't saying that we should grab our privates and run, although that would make for an interesting scene for the EMT to happen upon. He was referring to our "Personal Protector", also known as our PP. OK, ok, call me immature, call me a child, call me whatever you want, but it was damn funny. Maybe it was one of those things that you "had to be there", which I am happy that I was able to be there to witness it and pass it along via this blog. You know you'll tell this story to someone, you don't fool me.......

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I Forgot a Couple of Things

Which in and of itself is INSANE! I can't believe that I forgot to mention the best show on TV (ok, maybe not, but it's entertaining to say the least).....American Idol. What a show! I wasn't expecting to see all of the celebrities that performed with the AI contestants. It was awesome, the variety of performers, the quality of their performances (well, most of them. I wasn't quite sure of what was going on with Toni Braxton and Meatloaf), the in general huge-ness of it all. It seemed like a party that was going to go on all night long, and probably did. And my man Talyor was the vote of our AI, which rocks. He had a few star moments last night, having nothing to do with his singing, but his character. It was nice to watch.

The other thing that I think is worth mentioning is the following. Dion and I decided on having Chinese food the other night, which we love. And oh my lord, it was very very good. It always is though. Anyway, of course the best moment of the night is when you can get your fortune out of the little cookie. Mmmmm...cookies......mmmmm....fortunes.....where can you go wrong? Where? I'll tell you where. This is what Dion and I got for fortunes....

Dion's: "Financial hardship in your life is coming to an end"

Well hell! That's wonderful news! How long have I been complaining about our lack of funds? That rocked! I could hardly wait for my fortune. Maybe it will say that I will win lots of money that very same day! Or maybe someone famous will stumble across my blog and ask to pay off our house and medical bills. Or how about even just opening a bottle of soda that has instant win games and have ME be an instant winner?!? There are so many ways that we could get out of our financial hardships, one has got to fall into our laps. I take my fortune cookie, and with lots of tenderness, I crack open the cookie, looking for the white rectangle that holds the key to all of our financial burdens. The little white piece of paper that will change our lives as we know it. The little white rectangle is our salvation. I unfold the paper slowly, to savor every moment, holding my breath, and I read,

"Don't kiss an elephant on the lips today."

What? What the hell does that mean? Why is there the word "elephant" on my fortune? How is that a fortune in the first place? Maybe this is a translation issue. Maybe when going from Chinese to American it lost it's meaning. That has to be what happened. Let's be realistic about this, I don't have access to an elephant, and even if I did, the hell if I would kiss it on it's lips. Why would anyone do that to an elephant? What happened to my lucky fortune of not having to worry about money again? I was tempted to go to the zoo and find an elephant to kiss, in spite of what my fortune said. I was going to try reverse psychology, maybe by kissing an elephant, riches would be bestowed upon me. Or it would just taste like peanuts. I am betting on the latter.

There you have it. Those were our fortunes for the night. Dion gets rich, I avoid elephants. I think I want a refund on my cookie.


Update
I thought you all should know that one of Dion's bonus checks was given to him the Firday after I wrote this original post. I, like I was told, did not kiss an elephant. Those crazy fortunes....

The Things I Sometimes Do

Well, today I am home with the girls since Nadia has a fever close to 103. Wonderful. This is not really how I like to use up my comp time, but I am sure this is not how Nadia likes to spend her time either.

I find myself doing some strange things, not that that would surprise anyone. Every time I turn on the computer, I have a few sites that I have put into my favorites that I look at every day. My Sisters In Survivorship online support group, which I have been laying low with lately, but check daily. Sometimes it gets overwhelming, and I need a break. Sometimes I check eBay, sometimes I play games, sometimes I look at our scarey bank account, and I always look at my favorite blogs. In fact, I have quoted one blog in particular called Cancer,Baby. I don't even remember how I came across it, but I would check it every day. Cancer, Baby writing always made me laugh and cry, so I tried to keep up with her blog. I would check and check and sometimes there would be something new, but most of the time I waited. Every once in a while there would be a post made on behalf of CB by her friend, which I always appreciated. Until the final post. It had been weeks. And there it was, CB had died. I was so sad for the loss of such a person, but glad that she was no longer suffering. http://cancerbaby.typepad.com/cancerbaby/ if you are interested. But here's the odd thing that I find myself doing every day since. I still go to her site and look. I read those words over and over, almost in denial, but I know better. And even more than that I know that that could be any one of us cancer people. I know that we walk a very fine line, balancing between the world of cancer, and the world of not, trying not to fall on either side of the fence.

I was talking to my mom the other day and she was voicing her concern over not being able to help me anymore now that treatment is done. Her want (and need) to help, to try and ease the burden that cancer has put on my family and she mentioned "survivor's guilt". I found that very interesting since I had only heard that term used by us cancer people when one of us dies. The guilt that we have survived (thus far) and another person has become a victim. I had never thought about survivors guilt in the context of non-cancer people. I learned a new thing that day, but more importantly, my eyes were opened a little bit more than they had been before. This cancer stuff can be so tricky. You don't know if you are coming or going, staying or leaving, surviving or just managing. I guess it is different every day, depending on how I am feeling and what is going on around me.

I go back to the doctor in August for my check. I have come to not like the graduation process, the opposite, of course, of what you would expect. These checks are little safety nets, they allow us to walk across with a quicker step in our feet, knowing that it will be there if we fall. Now, deep down I know that it is a false sense of security, because I know if the cancer were to come back, before they would find anything, I would probably have symptoms first. And by then.....well, the medical field is a science, that's true, but unfortunately our bodies don't always conform to how science conducts itself.

I don't even know if I am making sense anymore. Forgive me, I have been up since 5:15 with the girls, and the Diet Coke really isn't doing what it should at this point. I better go though and make sure everything's kosher around the house, and make it through another day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


I think our yard is complete...maybe...

Itscared her a little at first, but it's all good now.

Right before Nadia bounced off of the bed

Claire's new princess tent.

it's raining!

Now that's a nice looking pool (without the sand and grass in it)

As Of Late

Yesterday I was able to do direct care with the kids in my program. I didn't know how much I had missed them. I was able to do a little catching up with them, asking about the count down until the last day of school, finding out what was new in their lives. It rocked. I played Uno with a handful of them as we got closer to closing time, and laughed like I haven't at my job, as of late. They have a way with me, that reminds me of why I do what I do, for the most part. It gets lonely working my shift, stuck in my little office with not a lot of contact with anyone, unless I need to make a trip to the office for whatever reason. So any time that I get to spend with the kids is priceless. They are able to fill a void that I have yet been able to put my finger on. Anyway.....

I had to call Dell today to order some more ink for our printer. I don't know how many times I told the lady that all I needed was one package of blank ink. One. Not two, not two and two color ink jets, no, I didn't need the "special" paper that apparently is all that will work in our printer (odd, the paper I have works fine). And for the love of God why, every time I go to order things from them, do they insist that I live at my parents address? STOP IT! I have them over and over our address. I have told them that probably my parents have an account with them too since they also have a Dell computer, but I assured her that I did not live with them. I have my own address, as strange as that concept may be. JUST MAIL ME THE DAMN INK! Ok. Whew. Got that out of my system.

We got a little pool for the girls and that is up and running in our backyard. To say that they love it would be an understatement. Unfortunately, they also love to go from the pool to the sandbox and vise versa. We seem to be building a little lake in our backyard, complete with a slide and plastic play things. No sea weed, as of yet. Wait. Does all of the grass floating around count as sea weed? Ah, sure. Why not?

I love American Idol (don't judge me) and tonight is the final night. I think it is on for 10 hours or something. But I do have to say that I am still on the bitter train (woo woo) because of Chris being voted out. He's my new boyfriend. Hot tamale. But, since he is gone, I am on the Soul Patrol bandwagon, and am proud to say that I have been since day one, I just liked Chris a tiny bit better. Hot tamale. But my vote (ok, about 20 of my votes) went to Taylor last night. Yes, I am a nerd who calls in and votes, but to my defense, I only started doing that this year. I need a life. Why am I so in love with this show? Simple. Because they can do what I could never do in a million years. And guess what? I love the musical Cats, too. In fact, my mom and I are going to go see it next week, and I can hardly wait.

So, with that, I will upload a few pictures of our backyard lake and then I have to go get the girls. I love comp time.....

Monday, May 22, 2006

Floating in La La Land

I have had a hard time getting motivated to write lately. I know a lot of it has to do with being done with treatment, so I guess I will focus on my feelings about that topic.

So here I am in La La land, wondering what to do with myself. The first week after being done with treatment I found myself finding things that were for sure the cancer returning. Somewhere in my little brain the thought of "what if Herceptin was just holding it at bay this past year" began swimming around. The idea that there is cancer still there, but Herceptin kept it under control, has passed through my thoughts more than once. I would love to pull a little lever and turn those thoughts off, but as I gobble Tylenol for a headache (it's gotta be cancer), as I take a breath and feel a pang in my lung (it's gotta be cancer), as I look a little spot on my leg and pick at it a little bit (it's gotta be cancer), I can't control these thoughts and fears.

In fact, I have never felt so out of control since being diagnosed. At least then there was a plan of attack. At least then there was the outpouring of support at every corner we turned. At least then we didn't have to worry about our finances, we were pretty stable. Now, well, I can't say the same thing. Everything in my world is upside down. I am trying to get used to my new body, but find myself hating it more and more, not only for the fact that it just isn't me anymore, but for what it represents. I am tired of the aches and pains that cancer has brought to me, totally aware that it will only get worse as I get older.

Claire saw my hip to hip scar from reconstruction today and asked me what happened. How do I explain to a 3 year old what my body has gone through? I stumbled along, and really don't think that I answered her, which isn't fair, but I didn't know what to say. Nadia sees my hip incision that is still healing from my last adventure, and says,

"Mommy.....ohhhhhhh"

It breaks my heart, but I know the really tough part is to come. I have been toying with the idea of quitting the study I am in. One is for financial reasons, but also I don't know who the real new me is yet, and I don't think I will until the study is done, or until I quit it. I know all of the stories about menopause and how it effects women, so I can't tell those emotions apart from my real emotions. I hope that the emotions and feelings I am having now is not the real new me, and is the menopause. I have had some pretty dumb thoughts floating around in my head lately, so dumb that I couldn't even write about them if I wanted to, so I didn't.

I think I need to find something that makes me happy. Something that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning, instead of snoozing for an hour. Something that makes me smile, and proud, and honored to be a part of. Something worth doing.......something......

Friday, May 19, 2006

The School Year

I can hardly believe that another school year has almost passed. What I can't believe even more is that Claire will be going to preschool next fall. We have been talking about it, and I told her that when the leaves are starting to turn yellow, orange, red and brown, she will be going to school. She is very excited to pick out a yellow "packpack", although some days she wants a pink one, and some days she wants a blue one. But most of the time she wants a yellow one. She has been saying the funniest things lately and I have no clue where she comes up with them. Nadia is right on her heels as far as talking, and general behavior (which can be bad at times-yikes!).

Well, for work we are coming up on the summer program. I have organized field trips and guests to come in to talk to the kids, and I think it will be a pretty good summer as long as the weather is nice to us. I have some of my favorite kids coming back this summer, which is awesome.

Nadia just got up so it's time to go for now. There's a lot stewing in my head right now, it's just not the time to talk about it. But be patient, I think that day is coming.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Like Rock Stars

Well, I said we would do it, and we did. I got back from Ohio last night at midnight. And while the whole weekend was packed with Tricia and Sue adventures, I think I will focus on my flights since I had interesting moments with them.

On the way down, I flew into Milwaukee with a half hour layover. The next plane that I would board was a puddle jumper. A prop plane. A pack of gum with wings. So I walked down the stairs, onto the tarmac, and up the little steps into the plane where I was greeted by a guy who didn't look quite old enough to be flying a plane, let alone a plane that I was on. But, ok, I still took my little seat and made nice to the guy next to me since he was sitting the the emergency exit seat. I wanted to be one of the first one out, if need be.

So we taxi out into the runway, it was a rather smooth take off and I settled in for my hour and a half flight. But not for long. About 15 minutes into it, the Doogie Houser pilot came into the back with the 20 of us passengers, looked out one window, looked out the other and went back into the cockpit. Interesting. I knew he had his very own rather large window to look out so I figured he wasn't taking in the sights. Sure enough, a few seconds later we are told we are going back to Milwaukee, but first we have to burn off some fuel. Burn off some fuel? Don't they say that when they have to make an emergency landing? Apparently the landing gear would not go back in and it had to be fixed. I may be off here on what was actually going on, because it seems to me that a landing gear would not be out for take off, but again, I know nothing about airplanes.

So we burn off 15 minutes of fuel, fly the 15 minutes back to Milwaukee, and wait for them to fix the plane. So blah blah blah they fix the plane and we are off again. The rest of the flight was uneventful, which was good, and I landed in Ohio ready for fun.

Ok. Now the flight home. If you could even believe it, this pilot was even younger than the first. Have you ever seen Catch Me if You Can? Frank Abegnale Jr was flying MY plane. He looked like a teenager with his little dimples and boyish smile. I looked at the guy next to me and said "Well. what do you think? How old?" He thought maybe 21 or 22. Really. Good God. When I checked in, and didn't realize until it was way too late (as in I am states away from Ohio) that the check in person put my baggage claim ticket/sticker onto the part of my plane ticket that they collect. In Milwaukee they tell me that my baggage will not make it to MN and I will have to call the baggage claim people in the morning and they will have it shipped to me. No baggage. That means no hair dryer with the diffuser, which means my hair will be a tad wider than normal. That also means no make-up, no other hair supplies, no new shoes I bought. Dang it! Well, there was nothing I could do at that time since they were already boarding my next plane for MN. Great. I had to practically run to the gate and hope I make it on time. I did, but I was the second to last one on the plane. I had to kick a lady out of my seat, and of course I thought they had over-booked, but she was just in the wrong seat. That flight went pretty well, we got cookies, pretzels, and soda, which was more than I thought we would get. And the cookies were warm. Mmmmm. About 15 minutes from landing, my nose runs the kind of run that you know is going to be blood. And it was. What a wonderful way to top off my flying experiences. I asked for napkins, and it actually stopped pretty quick. I think my poor sinuses had had enough. They were done and wanted me to know as much. But on a good notw, my bag did make it to MN so I don't have to worry about how I am going to keep my hair under control. That's a good thing.

My weekend in Ohio was a blast. I had wonderful food all weekend, met a lot of nice people, and of course, partied like a rock star with Patsy Poopy Head. The ceremony was very good, very moving. It was neat to see all of those people walking after all of the hard work they put into their masters. It was even neater to see the families cheering them on. I also got to see Tricia's parents whom I hadn't seen in so so long. It was a good time. It has gone down in my book as one to remember. Thanks again PPH!!!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I Forgot To Add

So yesterday I talked about how long my wait was at Mayo. I told Paul (see picture) that I was going to be in trouble since I only brought $5 with me (parking is usually $4) and I would have to go to the ATM and get more money. He laughed and told me to tell them that it was my last day of treatment so I get free parking. We both chuckled, and with that I headed to the ATM and the parking ramp. I made my way down from floor 7 and had three lines to choose from. Ok, the far left had a line of 3 cars (no good), the guy in the middle only had one car, but is the slowest person ever to exchange parking tickets, money and receipts with, so that left the far right, which had two cars. I waited, got to the window and handed my ticket and $20 over and said,

"They told me to tell you that parking is free because it was my last treatment."

We both laughed, and she said,

"Really? Then why did you hand me the $20?"

We both laughed again.

She put my little ticket through her machine, and I waited for my change and receipt. She didn't give me a receipt. She didn't because you see, she handed my $20 back and said,

"Congratulations, and good luck to you."

So that brings me back to the theory which I have talked about before. When it comes to cancer (or any other horrific event) there are angels and a-holes. I have met another angel.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


And the boys and I. Justin, Bill, me, and Paul (he does all of the appointment schedules and was my comic relief many many times)

More angels....see my little pin? That's the one from Mayo.

Just a handful of the nurses that put up with me, I mean, worked with me....

This is Hope and I. Notice that I kind of forgot I had a syringe hanging from my chest. Oh so pretty. That's what the chemo rooms look like too.

Insert Theme From Rocky Here

I did it. There were days that I wanted to throw in the towel, days that I did not want to leave my house, days that I really really thought I should be doing anything BUT going to Mayo, again, week after week after week. But I did it. I did the 51 weeks of treatment, and today said some goodbyes. Well, not really goodbyes since I will be going back every month for my study shot, but you know what I mean.

I decided that my onc wanted me to hang around for a while, since he never did sign my orders for Herceptin and my study shot. My appointment that was for 11:30am, was finally over at 2:30. Keep in mind the infusion is a half an hour long. I told the nurses I was just going to keep eating the free snacks until we could call it even. But, waiting around for that long wasn't all that bad. I got to talk to Hope, my newest Mayo friend, for actually a good amount of time. She is a walking inspiration, I feel honored to now have her in my life. I got to shoot the poop with Bill, and hand over the 12 pack of diet coke, which he said he wouldn't take. I told him I was just going to leave it then, and he changed his mind. He gave me one for the road, I treasure the people I have met. So, I got a present from Hope, one from Dion, a pin from Mayo that they give out to you when you complete chemo that says "Celebrate Life". Then I went out to eat with Beth, and on the drive home, not only did we see a full, most vibrant colored rainbow, but right below it was another one. A double rainbow. I will never forget today, and years from now I hope to look back on this day and smile and have my heart be warmed. I did get some pictures, so I will share with you.

Thank you for all of the support this past year, actually the past 2 years since diagnosis. I am ready to be done with cancer, even though reality says that I never will be. I saw it described today in a blog belonging to Dana, a Sister In Survivorship, and it was worded so perfectly, that I have to quote her on it....


"The thing about cancer is for a long time people will ask you, "But you're ok now, right?" Honestly, when you non-cancers aren't listening, we survivors vent about it to each other. Because what people don't know is that having cancer does to your life what too much stretching does to a rubber band--it just never goes back to the way it was. It's just...different. Forever. Irrevocably. And it takes far longer than anyone would imagine to pull all the pieces into a semblance of order after a blow like that. It takes even longer to really find yourself, long after "the cancer" dust has settled for everyone else."

She is such a poetic writer, and knows her stuff. So, all that is left is to post some pictures so you can meet the people I have had close contact with for the past year. I will owe them for life....

Monday, May 08, 2006

Patsy Poopy Head

I have a friend. A good friend. One that I have known for over 10 years now, I think. It's Patsy Poopy Head. Ok, that's obviously not her real name, she goes by Tricia to the rest of the world, Patricia to some, but Patsy Poopy Head to me. She will always be Patsy Poopy Head, because let's face it, that is just way too much fun to say.

I met PPH at Pine Lake Camp, I think it was the summer of '95. Or was it '96? I get confused sometimes. No, '95....anyway, I was instantly drawn to her, she has that "something" in her that people are naturally drawn to. At camp it only takes a little bit of time before you feel like you have known everyone for years, and this was no different. When PPH and I get together, things happen. You never know what to expect, you never know what the end result will be. What you do know though, is that you will catch us laughing like 9 year olds at the same things 9 year olds laugh at. Why did we find it so funny when she bit into a candy bar and it make this odd noise? No clue. But we laughed so hard we nearly peed our pants. And dare we talk about our roadtrip to Florida from Wisconsin for spring break my senior year in college? Nope. Some things are better left a mystery. Although I will say that I am still a tiny bit bitter that she put her cigarette out in my half finished Frosty. But not angry enough to NOT take a picture of it. And Waffle Houses. Why so many? How many waffles can one eat on a road trip? We survived that trip on Mountain Dew, Pepsi (I enjoyed it back then...I don't know what happened), cheddar goldfish, and cheddar combos. One phrase.....too much cheddar.

So why all of this talk about PPH, you ask? Simple. I AM GOING TO GO SEE HER IN OHIO IN A MERE 3 DAYS!!! I haven't seen her in 2 years. I can hardly wait! We are so going to party like rockstars as we celebrate her graduation from grad school. She has invested over 7 years of her life to school, and has earned her party like a rockstar status. She is one of my closets friends, that will never change, and I can't wait to be there to cheer her on as she walks across the stage. I might even have to scream "YEA PATSY POOPY HEAD!!!"

A New Look and The End

You may or may not have noticed that my blog looks a little different. I would love to say that it is due to a new beginning (my year long treatment ends after tomorrow), I would like to say that I had an epiphany, I would like to say that it is because with all things comes change, but I would be lying. And I try not to do that often. So what has happened, basically, is that I screwed up my other blog and I had to transfer all of my stuff onto a new template. Sounds complicated, but it wasn't really, until I tried to add a few things, but Dion helped me with that. So with no further adieu, it's my new and improved blog.

Ok, The End. Tomorrow is the day. I have my last Herceptin treatment. 51 weekly trips to Mayo. 51 weekly infusions. 51 opportunities to meet new people, and that is exactly what I have done. There are so many people at Mayo that I will miss seeing every week. So many people who have made an impact in my life, the nurses, the custodians, other patients. Did I ever mention that if I run of out Diet Coke, that Bill, the custodian brings me a can from his personal supply? You see, Mayo stocks up on Pepsi (blah) and I like Coke products. Tomorrow I will be bringing a 12 pack of Diet Coke with me to give to Bill. He has no idea what he has done for my spirits. The nurses, I couldn't list them all if I tried. Some friends I have made, Hope & Judy, fellow breast cancer patients, huge huge inspirations to me. All the way to the lady in the gift shop who lets me put my $1.07 on the counter, grab my soda, and leave without standing in line. It has been a hellava ride my friends, I am thankful for the Herceptin breakthrough, I am thankful for many things, but I will be even more thankful when my life does not revolve around medical appointments. I will be thankful when my life does not revolve around me. Sounds funny, I know, but you probably know what I mean by that.

So it will be with a bitter sweet feeling that I will go to Mayo, get my Diet Coke, go to the elevator up to the 10th floor, check in for treatment (No, I don't need a bed, yes, I have a port, 10-18-74 is my birthday--the magic questions I answer every week) and say goodbye to people I think of as my friends. I can only hope that I have had half of an impact on them, as they have had on me.

My Hero Sarah

Who is Sarah you ask? She is the wonderful wonderful person at Blogger who helped me get my blog back. You see, I could get to the dashboard of my blog (where you enter posts, make changes, etc) but I could not find my blog. It was very stressful, I was getting very sad, until I got an email from Sarah. She gave me suggestions on things to try to find my blog, and was so nice and patient with me. So a big HEARTY THANKS to Sarah, the wonderful gal at Blogger who worked a miracle today.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Deal



Well my friends, it is time to come clean about Dion and I. We have been married for 8 years (this Sept), and for about 7 of those years we had a deal. It was one we agreed on, one that we faithfully have been following, and today the deal is off. Let me fill you in on some history.

The food store. I hate it. I hate going up and down every isle, trying to figure out what to get, trying to shop healthy, trying to not spend too much money. But there is one thing I hate even more, and that is going food shopping with Dion. I would rather bleed out of my eyes. I would rather clean out the kitty box, I would rather have little hang nails on each finger that bleed than go to the store with him. It is painful. Every isle must be conquered. Every label must be compared to the label next to it. Every ounce must be accounted for. Do we buy this kind of bacon, or this kind? You see that one has more fat on it, which should we get? How about these fish sticks? Which one will be more crunchy? Wait! Toilet paper! 2 ply or 1? Does it matter? Juice! We need juice, and I want orange with lots and lots of pulp. I like to chew my orange juice (why not just buy an orange?!?). So that is what I had to listen to when Dion and I went to the store together.

Laundry. It was always an adventure when Dion did the laundry (still is actually). I have had clothes end up a pretty shade of pink, I have had clean clothes end up balled up on the folding table with permanent wrinkles formed. Socks? Never matched up. Clothes put away? BWAH HA HA HA!!! That's funny. ("I don't know where they go").

So here was the deal. I hated shopping, Dion would do it from now on. Dion was not so good at laundry, I would do it from now on. Good deal, right? I thought so, until yesterday I looked in our pantry, and noticed the complete lack of food in it. Then I began to think about when Dion went shopping for food. for example, the other day he came home with milk, juice (crappy pulpy orange juice), a huge box of frozen spare ribs, and I kid you not, a brown box (the type you get in the mail) of 10 pounds of bacon. Oh, and Mountain Dew and Diet Coke. I will go on record that I love bacon. And I find spare ribs to be tasty, but what can I put together for the girls to eat with those options? Not a whole lot. So this morning I find that the girls have dumped their laundry baskets of clean clothes in the laundry room....lovely, I was hoping for more work to do. Dion makes the comment of how nice it will be when they can do their own laundry. HA! When THEY can do their own laundry. I warned him that when that time comes, I am retiring from laundry, and actually, I was thinking of boycotting your laundry again until you take your clean clothes upstairs, I have no where else to stack them. And he says....

"You don't have to do my laundry."

Wait. What did he just say? So all of these years, when we have had a deal, and even though when he shops he brings in large quantities of bacon and calls it grocery shopping, I have still done my end of the deal, and now he says that I really haven't had to do it? Well. That was easy. He has just saved me lots of time. No more trying to figure out if his dress sock is navy or black, no more washing his pants only to have little pieces of wet (but clean) paper stuck to everything in the wash, no more hanging up every single one of his T-shirts (I don't know why he hangs them all, but I did it, because that is how he wanted it). I can feel my spare time growing by the minute. I am actually excited for this new adventure. I am done. The girls have a few more years left, and then I will be done with them too. I was taught at 11 how to wash my own clothes, and from then on, I did. My kids will be taught the same. When, and if, they go to college, they are more than welcome to bring their dirty clothes home to wash, but they will be washing them. Plus I don't think I want to see what kind of underwear is going to be out there in the 2020's, and I certainly don't want to know if my kids are wearing them.

Of course, Dion will still be at that point trying to match his navy sock with another navy sock. Wait, who am I kidding? He won't even try to match them, he'll wear a black sock with a navy sock and not think twice about it. That's a promise.

Friday, May 05, 2006

The Generation Gap

I held a staff meeting yesterday to get ready for our summer program (I coordinate a school aged child care through our school district). For me it is always an exciting time to think about all that we will be doing with the kids during the summer. The field trips we will be going on, the people who generously will be coming in to teach us new things, the themes for each of the 12 weeks. I give my staff all of the credit. They are excellent at planning fun and creative things for the kids, and I am always amazed at the projects they can find.

Anyway, we were discussing themes, catch phrases, etc, and one of my older staff suggested that we have a sock hop with the kids. All the good stuff, music, dressing up, dancing. Four out of the seven of us started to rattle out ideas, while the three high school girls were quiet. Finally one of them asked what a sock hop was. What is a sock hop? My goodness, we had some teaching to do. I might as well have told the girls they sounded like a broken record, they wouldn't have known what that meant either I suppose. So, we explained to them what a sock hop was, and once we started explaining it, they caught on and kind of knew what we were talking about.

On to the next idea. One of the staff's parents are going to Japan and will be bringing back things for the kids. We decided that would be a fun theme to run with. Using chop sticks, etc. So in trying to come up with a name for the week, I said,

"It probably wouldn't be PC to name it "Oriental Week."

Now the high school girls knew what I was saying, but my older staff who mentioned the sock hop was confused. I heard her whisper to another staff,

"What's PC?"

And there you have it. One generation gap to another. Somehow I fell right in the middle, knowing what each side was talking about . But as time goes by, I find myself slipping. I get confused with all the features on my cell phone, I have no interest in an ipod and just found out that an mp3 IS an ipod. Computers will always intimidate me. Palm pilot? I can write it down faster in my calendar than program it into a palm pilot. HDTV? I get angry even talking about it. I don't want an obsolete TV in a few years. We can't afford it. And what is with those cell phones that are just an earpiece? It looks like someone out of a Jetsons cartoon. How can the people hear you talking if the phone is up at your ear? It makes no sense to me.

When I got a cd player in my car, I was on top of the world. A cd player! In college I was so excited to get a tape deck. I have no clue where all of my tapes are, but we still have a few tape decks around the house if I ever get the urge to listen to them. I'd just have to find them. We have a cd burner. Or is it a dvd burner? Or is it both? I still don't know, and I have no clue how to use it. You should be proud that I can even post pictures on this blog.

Yikes. I have taken one step closer to the generation who has no clue what's new out there and how to run it. Pretty soon you'll hear me saying that I don't understand the clothes kids wear now a days and why does their hair do what it does? And what's with the color? Maybe they don't have a mirror at home, and they just mistakenly hope that it looks ok. Poor kids. Poor kids? Poor me.

One Step Closer

Another milestone this week....I got the staples taken out of my boobs yesterday. I wish I could say that I was strong person, not a wimp, but I can't. I did get light headed and a tad pale (ok, more pale than usual). Sigh. I used to think that I would get used to the blood and gore that has come with all of this cancer crap, but I haven't. I don't think I ever will. The brain is a powerful thing, folks. I told the doctor that I knew that was the reason I could not do the procedure in his office and had to be out for it. I swear, he is such a good guy, such a talented doctor. Kudos.

So, what's next, you wonder? Nothing. That's it. I'm done. Just the regular check ups, my pill and study shot for another 3 years, and that's it. Then we wait. I will try to live life as normal as possible, but in the back of my mind, I am waiting. The bad part is I don't think that I was have anymore "safe" moments. This is hard to explain. I don't mean to sound negative, because that is not how I am thinking. I guess last night when I was looking through some old pictures, I saw myself as a different person. Obviously physically, but I looked into my face, my eyes, and there was something that has been taken away. I can see it. Maybe innocence, maybe naivete, maybe the thought of having my whole life in front of me with nothing stopping me. I don't know. I know there is a difference though. I can see it in my eyes, in how I smile.

It's sad how much cancer can take from a person, but enlightening at how much you "get" from it too. But what am I going to do with what I have gotten, with what I have learned? How far can I take it? How do I even begin? I know that there is something that I am supposed to be doing, but I am having a hard time figuring it out on my own. I have little thoughts here and there on what I should be doing, but it's like I need a jumpstart of some sort.

Maybe with my last treatment on Tuesday, after 2 years, something will click. Or explode. I haven't decided yet which way it will go. Until I figure it out though, I kind of feel like I am just wandering around, not really accomplishing anything of value. I need to find an outlet, I think. Something to get me going. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nothing Nothing Nothing

Ugh. I have been sitting here trying to think about something to write about. Writing is my passion, but when there are just little floaties spinning around in your head, it makes it kind of hard to write, let alone put together a clear thought. Ok, let's break down how my day goes and then maybe I can think of something. Well, let's see, Shrek 2 is playing while Nadia eats her Honey Nut Cherios. Now if that isn't a good topic for writing, I don't know what is. Hmm. Ok, what else? Fruit Roll Ups. That is the popular thing in our house right now, as long as it is the yellow one. Claire demands yellow. Do you remember when Fruit Roll Ups came out?

It was next to impossible to peel it off of the plastic paper, at least for me, which may have been because of my nail biting issue. But those roll ups were different. They were a circle instead of a square, and they had little seeds from the fruit in them, which made everyone believe that they were all natural, not artificial stuff in there! Look! There are seeds! They have to be real! They were a normal color, red, not like the yellow, blue, green, and tie die that they have now. And they were bigger. Everything seems to be shrinking, or maybe I have gotten bigger.

Who the heck needs a "bite size" of anything? That's just mean. I don't think I have ever said to myself, "Boy, I am hungry. Do you know what would hit the spot? A 1 inch by 1 inch square of a Snickers bar. Yup. That'll do it." That's just dumb. If I am going to have a candy bar, I want the whole thing, thank you very much. Except at school when I only have two nickels and all I can afford is a bite size Snickers. There's not much you can do at that point, except get the mini fix. What a waste. It just leaves you wanting more.

So there are some rants about how things have changed a little bit. I wish I had more to write about, but I don't. What a fun life, huh? I do have to go to Mayo today (2 more left!!), so I guess I better get ready for that. Fruit Roll Ups and Mayo. Aren't you glad you know me?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Too Much

I gave it the good college effort, but today was rough. I found myself having to sit down more often, walking slower than normal, and feeling just plain exhausted. Who would have thought nipples would do that to a person?

I wish I could see them. Maybe on Thursday. I did face my challenge of taking a "sponge bath" today. Would you like to know one of man's greatest inventions? It is so simple. It is so affordable. It can be used for oh so many things. Press and Seal. What an awesome invention. It sticks to everything, including skin. So guess who was standing in front of the mirror this morning trying to figure out the best way to attatch plastic wrap to herself? It worked for the most part. Towards the end of the shower things were starting to get damp, but you can imagine the difficulty in moving with plastic on your chest. Crinkle crinkle crinkle. But I got my shower, darn it.

Tonight is the meeting for the cancer walk our town has each year, The Mississippi Shuffle. It is very informal tonight, but it still gets me excited for the summer event. The first year that I walked after diagnosis was bitter sweet. Survivors walk the first lap of the weekend, ahead of everyone. I felt very self conscious, the only one with a bandana (I had just finished chemo), and I didn't want to walk in front of everyone. I didn't want to be singled out, cancer had done that on it's own. The next year, with more hair, more courage, it was easier. I took more time to look at all of the bags, at all of us survivors. I spent more time focused on my internal thoughts, on how powerful of an event that I was a part of. I spent more time thinking of the people around me who were newly diagnosed, Annette, my neighbor, and hoping that they knew how much love and positive thoughts were being sent their way. I wear my Shuffle Shirts with pride. I wear them for all survivors. When I wear them, I feel strong, I feel like I have won. There is so much power in the weekend of The Shuffle, like nothing else you can experience, and I only hope I can share a fraction of the emotion that goes with the event.