Friday, June 30, 2006

A Long Weekend Coming Up

Ok, I understand that I do not work on Friday's so technically every weekend is a long one for me, but, I have to say that there are days where I wouldn't mind working full time, and today is one of those days. Nothing really specific, but the girls were on a holy terror today. So goes life.

I took the kids at work to the pool yesterday and was talented enough to burn the heck out of my poor pale skin. Never fear. It will just peel and go back to the original white within a week or so. But until then it's cold showers for me and limited exposure to the sun.

We got the girls pictures back and they are wonderful. It was really hard to decide on which ones to pick since the photographer did such an amazing job, but somehow we managed and they are proudly hanging on the wall where they will remain FOREVER.

I wish I had more to write about, but my brain seems to be failing me right now. There have been so many times when something has happened that I thought "Hey, I should write about that" and then I forget what I was going to write about. That seems to be how I have been the last month or so. I am not sure what is causing that, but for example, routine things at work, things I have been doing for years, have slipped my brain. It's so frustrating since I usually have a good memory. Just ask Dion.

I am going to Mayo on Monday for my study shot where I will be able to see my buddy Hope. I might also see another cancer friend who I met about 2 years ago who also happens to cut my hair in town. She had colon cancer, and I saw her yesterday and it seems as though her cancer is back, and with a vengeance. It's sad. It always is, and it also reminds me that it could easily be me.

I got an email from my best friend saying that she is not able to have any more kids. I called her right away and we talked for a bit. She has one daughter who is about 4 months older than Claire. I could only hope to be as good of a mom as she is. It is so unfair that someone who wants more kids so bad has had this happen. They had been trying and going to doctors and specialists for 19 months and just got the news this week that basically there is nothing that can be done for her. If you could see her with her daughter, you would see the injustice in all of this. That there's people out there who could care less about their children, and then there's my friend. It goes to show you that life really isn't fair all of the time. I can only listen and just be there for her, as she has done for me so many times.

Well, maybe something will happen this weekend that I can write about. Dion's birthday is Tuesday, but I have no clue as to what we are doing. I'll have to ask him what he wants to do. Until next time.....

Monday, June 26, 2006

Hooter Girls

Interesting title, huh? I know I have your full attention now so I can tell you this story. I was in McDonald's and it was potty time with Claire. We head over to the bathrooms, dodging the thousands of people in line to order. I am trying to watch where I am going, but at the same time trying to watch Claire who is bouncing her hand off of the condiment stand. This may not seem like an issue, but as you understand, we are coming up to a guy, innocently waiting to order his Big Mac with Cheese, not fully aware of what my child is doing and the fact that she comes up to his waist. The tender zone, where the goods are stored and if not protected, damaged. I had to make sure the bang bang bang stopped before we reached this guy. I am happy to report that I managed to save this man from possible infertility and definite pain. We got to the bathrooms and I held the door for the girl behind us. Now, seeing that I had a child with me, and the mere fact that I held the damn door for her, you'd think she would let us get into our spot that was rightfully ours from the beginning. Obviously we were there first, I held the door for her. She apparently was not thinking the same way since she took what she thought to be her place in front of us.

Ok, here's the set-up. There are four stalls, all of them taken (unfortunately she did not look for feet below and opened the door on a little kid and then acted like it was this little girl's fault). She stood back in front of us where I noticed that she was wearing a classy Hooters shirt that said "Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined". So now you understand the caliber of a person that I am dealing with in the bathroom, of all places. Door two and three open up, but the lady in stall three warns us that there is no more toilet paper in that stall. Hooter didn't bat an eye. She made a be-line for stall two and left Claire and I paperless. Not that she shouldn't have her pick in the first place since she was in front of us (according to her little Hooter brain) but at least offer us some paper. No offers were made. Luckily, stall number four opened up and we went in there. As a side note, you should know that someone went into the no-paper stall and I heard the universal noise for "Damn it, there's no toilet paper left" and I passed a wad under the stall without saying a word. I did get a thank you from the girl, which was nice.

So Hooter Girl, wherever you are, here's a great big thanks for boosting my confidence in society and for solidifying my opinion on someone who has the hooters to wear a Hooters shirt. Bravo.


It is possible that not all woman who wear a Hooters shirt are like the above mentioned girl. I am sure there are plenty of nice girls who wear Hooters shirts out there, I just happened across this gem.

My Body is Tired I Think

What I thought was a minor irritation on my hip incision has turned out to be an infection. I went to the doctor today and got some antibiotics.

I jammed my baby toe when I was trying to get over the gate on our stairs. I am pretty sure that it is broken.

I have gained about 20 pounds in the past year.

Can I trade in my body for a new one?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

! That's All. Nothing Else. Just !


There. I feel better.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

No Zip-a-dee-do-dah

Yawn. YAAAWWWNNNN! I am tired. I have been beat into the ground and all that is left of me is a little pink smudge. The last few days have taken quite a toll on me. I have a hard time keeping my eyes open at times, and an even harder time getting up when my alarm goes off. It is normal for me to snooze for an hour or so.

I have learned of two more breast cancer diagnosis in town in the past few weeks. I have met with one of them, and talked to the sister of the other one. It sucks. I only hope that I can be of some kind of help or inspiration to these people. If nothing else, they have my prayers. But, on a lighter note, I was able to hang out with one of the people I met on my breast cancer retreat when Dion had his surgery. She works the late shift so we were able to chat for a bit. That was nice, and she cracks me up so it lightened the mood too.

For some reason the laundry room has become my cancer shrine. I have pink bears, a shadow box of angels I was given, an 8 x 10 black and white of Nadia and I with our bald headed glory, signs of encouragement, plaques from the cancer walk, and most recently, an area devoted to those in my life who have been taken by cancer. I have an angel for my grandma, an angel for my co-workers daughter, and a butterfly for one of my on-line support sisters who died a few months ago. My plan is to devote an angel (or butterfly) in honor of those who have gone before me. I'm not sure if this a morbid thing to do or not, but I see it as a remembrance. I guess for the same reason that I have obituaries on my fridge of two friends that I have lost this past year.

I am having issues with the Mayo study that I volunteered to participate in. I don't think I want to do it anymore. I talked to Dion a little bit about it tonight, to try and sort out my feelings about it, but I am not sure if I have come up with an answer. I tried to explain to him the curse of being in menopause. The fact that I don't really feel that I know who I am right now. Is it me, or the pause, or depression or all of the above? I know that there are moments in the day where I have such anger for really no reason at all. I know that I am unhappy with how I look, with what I am thinking, with what I am doing (which is nothing). I am lacking in any type of passion over something, there's nothing that makes me jump for joy. I spend so much time breaking up fights with the girls and trying to teaching them right from wrong that I feel like I am missing all the fun stuff. A lot of the time I feel like just a crappy parent who has no control over her kids, and I have no idea what I am doing. Just going blindly into the night. Is this normal? I have no clue.

It was pointed out to me that when referring to cancer, I say it in the present tense. I wonder if that will ever change, especially since I had no idea that I was saying it that way. We could go a step further, if you dare, and say maybe my mind knows something about my body that I don't know yet. Kind of like the body cast I did when I was pregnant with Claire. Crap. I hate all of the unknown. I bet a lot of us cancer folks have been like this all of our lives, you know, wanting things to be lined up nice and neat for us. No surprises, no diversions, knowing exactly what is going to happen next and how it is going to happen. Don't get me wrong, I embrace change, I think if used right, it has the possibility to make us better people. I draw the line at the uncertainty of cancer. You could play devil's advocate I suppose and say none of us know when we are going to go or how it's going to happen, but having cancer...sorry, having HAD cancer, it seems like it's just one more odd that is stacked against me.

I miss the days where my only fear was having enough beer stocked in the fridge for the party that my room mate and I were going to host, and if the screen door was going to be broken again, or leaving the oven on for days at a time, or the really important issue of who was going to make the Mac and Cheese that night. Of course, I guess you could say that I am still dealing with the Mac and Cheese issue to this day, but the question now is, are the kids going to eat it?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A close-up of one of Dion's battle wounds.

Two of the three of Dion's incisions. The third is a tiny bit too low to show.

Oh so pretty scar and popped blisters. Jealous?

A Minor Addiction

Ok. I will admit it. I have a problem. There. I said it....sigh. I can't help it. There is a fairly new section in Yahoo called Yahoo Answers (I think that's what it is called) and I go there all of the time to just read through some of them. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I wonder about society, always I am entertained. But believe it or not, I almost always learn something. But I do caution you, keep in mind that there is a wide variety of people answering questions, and some have no clue as to what they are talking about. But it's still fun.

Well, the Flaska household is slowly recovering. While Dion has spent a large amount of the day sleeping, he says he is feeling better, which is good. He got his staples out yesterday, and I think that is half of the battle. It's like a little bit of your freedom is returned to you at that point. I took off my little Steri Strips, popping one tape blister in the process. I attacked the rest of them (5) yesterday with a tweezers. Gross. What's the lesson learned here? It sucks having an allergy to tape. Actually, I learned that after my first mastectomy. Now those blisters hurt! And while I have always said that I have gotten nothing but wonderful treatment by the nursing staff, Dion now says the same thing about the staff that took care of him. It's nice to know that you will be treated well, if you ever need to be hospitalized there.

So I guess that's it for today. At least for now. I really don't have much to say. I am hoping that will change in the next week or so with some news that I hope I can share, but we'll see. In the meantime, I am going to take some battle wound pictures of Dion and I to post. We make quite a team!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

That's Right, Folks

Rock and roll I painted Claire's room last night. After a mere approximately 3 hours, her room was tranformed from boring old white, to a mix of yellow and orange. Yellow and orange, you ask? Yep. Claire loves yellow, and the orange I picked out was pretty fun. I used the magical Woolie again (like I did for the dining room) and it was done lickity split. And with no further adieu...

another wall

one wall..

Pretty princess

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Ugh. Just Plain Old Ugh.

To say that today has been a long day would be the understatement of the year. I brought Dion home yesterday from the hospital, and he has ventured downstairs two or three times. Otherwise he has been laid up in bed sleeping and watching TV. He is supposed to be able to take his band-aides off today, but I don't know if that is going to happen or not. I am looking forward to saying to him what he has said to me these past two years...

"Quick like a band-aide!"

There's something to be said about paybacks....hee hee hee....anyway, the girls have been busy, which is a nice way of saying that they have been driving me nuts. We went outside and played for a while. And it was there that Nadia decided to finally poop after three days of trying. Huge. Or as she said, "It's a big big big big giant poop!" And it was. So we made a break for the house to fix that mess, and then went back out. We went in for lunch, then it was time for naps. After I got them in bed, I cut the grass in the front and back yards and came in the house ready to fall over. It was hot today. high 80's lower 90's. Plus part of the back yard is a hill. I had sweat pouring off of me, running into my eyes, and I had a hard time breathing for a while. I hit the shower and decided to take a little nap. Little. That lasted about 20 minutes when Claire came into the spare room and woke me up. Oh well.

Nadia was up shortly after that and I decided to take them out for a walk in the stroller. Mental. By the time I got home, I was in need of another shower. In need, but didn't do it. Instead, I loaded the girls into the car and went to McDonald's. I am happy to say that they are sitting on the couch watching Care Bears, being relatively good. My head hurts. So along with dealing with these girls today, I was also back and forth with Dion. I had to sleep with my cell phone by the spare bed because he needed help getting up (turned out that he could do it on his own). He has had a sore throat so it has been hard for him to eat certain foods. I think he is doing better. He moans every once in a while, but is almost standing up straight when he moves. I keep pushing that with him, and I am sure that he is sick of hearing it, but he has to start walking straight. That was something they forced when I had my TRAM. With any abdominal surgery, that is told to you over and over. It was interesting though in the hospital. Dion said three or four times in between moans, "I don't know how you did it." I am thinking he has a new respect for me. I did tell him that was one of the many differences between men and women, and also why women have babies. I saw all of my operations as slow downs, not knock downs, I guess. Beth sternly told me to remember that people have different levels of pain tolerance, and that I should not comment on his three band-aides and show him my scar that is hip to hip. She said that I should be nice and empathetic towards him, and I think for the most part, I have been. I have run my ass off today, and was cranky for a bit, but with good reason. I am exhausted and I can't even believe that I am still thinking about painting Claire's room, but I am.

I took off my big bandage, and now just have the steri-strips (is that what they are called?) on where my port used to be. I did a little damage today I think when I was cutting the grass. I ended up with a little red tinted fluid oozing for my incision, but that dried up, and things are good again.

Ok, I have to get Nadia in bed. Or at least try to get her in bed. It has become a fight to keep her in bed. She usually ends up pulling her bedding off and sleeping on the floor. Polish.

Friday, June 16, 2006

My badge of honor and what looks like a nice tan but really isn't in person, darn it. I can't wait to take that tape off.....

Just another view.

Said break.

Here it demon port (or Wal-Port as Dion called it). That red part is where the needle would be put, and the tubing was fed into the main artery that goes into the heart.

I am Fairview...No Wait...WE are Fairview

Bum bum buuuuuummmmmmm......bum-bum! Bum bum bum bum bum bum.....

I don't remember what the name of that theme is, so don't ask. And are you wondering about the title of this entry? Are ya? Are ya? Our local clinic/hospital is called Fairview. They have this catch phrase of "I am Fairview" and they show these snazzy pictures of the actual staff that work in that actual clinic and/or hospital. In fact, if you are ever on the third floor of the hospital, there is a massive picture of a doctor who happens to be Claire and Nadia's doctor. I wonder how they would react to seeing that huge picture. That may be worth a test. Anyway....

Thursday was the big day. The day of my port removal. I sweated about it all day since my appointment of in the afternoon. Oh, here's a little poll for all of you. Ok, so when you go and check in for your appointment, is it not true that at that exact moment you suddenly have to pee? Then you don't want to run to the bathroom for fear of them calling your name while you're on the pot, so you bounce your knee, try not to think of fluids of any type, and most certainly try not to think of what is about to happen. Then your name is called and as it turns out, you really had about 15 minutes before your name was called (more than enough time to pee) and now you are stuck back in the exam room, really having to pee, worrying about your "procedure" (and I say that word with utter sarcasm in a nasally voice). So you ask to use the bathroom, and get scolded by the nurses who ask why you didn't do that earlier. What? That's never happened to you? Me either.

I will not go into detail about the removal of my port since it involved a lot of toe wiggles, grunts, moments of nausiousness, and a prayer that I will never have to do this again. Ever. EVER. I will say that I should have brought my CD player so as not to have to hear my body being cut open or whatever was going on (I had my eyes closed). But I survived. After the numbing junk wore off, it was quite tender, which really isn't a surprise, and still is today. I will be the first to admit that I am a little sensitive when it comes to this stuff, and really it is all in my head. The mind is a powerful thing folks. Which leads us to Thursday night. Dion came home from work feeling not so hot, walking like a 90 year old grandpa. He ended up going upstairs to bed, and after checking on him a few times, I talked him into going into Urgent Care, which he did. Now, I did try to get him to let me drive him, but he just wanted to go. About a half an hour later I got a call from him, they were going to do a cat scan. I hear cat scan, and I think cancer. I got Carol to come over and watch the girls and I was off to the hospital. I got there by about 9 or 9:15pm, and by 10:15 Dion was in the operating room getting his appendix out.

I brought him home late this afternoon, and he has been upstairs ever since. Luckily for him they were able to do it laproscopically, so he has 3 small incisions instead of being opened all of the way up. This recovery will be a lot easier for him, whether or not he believes that right now. He did say to me a few times that he doesn't know how I did all of my surgeries, and I told him it is the difference between men and women, and why women give birth too. He will be missing all next week at work, and obviously he won't be going to his parents house this weekend. So instead of taking care of two kids by myself, I will be taking care of three. I think painting is out of the picture too. I will just have to do it another time I guess.

Dion's mom offered to come up tonight, which Dion turned down, then he decided well, maybe, but then her tire was making an odd noise so she couldn't make it anyway. And here we are with his car stuck at the hospital since he couldn't drive home. I'll figure that out later. I was lucky enough to have one of my employees come to the hospital and sit with me until Dion was out of surgery, which was really nice, and we have had other friends and co-workers in town offer to help, along with my parents, so I think we will manage ok. I just need to get some sleep I think. That will help. I hope.

So there you are. We are Fairview. Not only are we Fairview, but I have a feeling we are going to owe them quite a bit of money. I told Dion that we never get a break. Never. Is that just how life goes, or have we been dealt a bum hand? I don't know anymore. I do know that I have to get the girls into bed and get these contacts out of my eyeballs since they have been there for over 24 hours.

P.S. I was told by a certain doctor to not write about her and the fact that my port actually WAS broken, so I won't, but you'll be able to see some pictures of it. Yeah, that's right. I kept it. I got it in my very own personal biohazard bag and everything. How much does that rock? Ok, maybe it doesn't, but come on.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Another Day in the Life of Me

I kind of feel like I am moving through jello today, but at the same time the day has flown by. Go figure that conundrum out because I certainly can not. I was pleasantly surprised when I was joined in bed this morning by Claire at 7am, instead of 5am the morning before. I was even more pleasantly surprised that Nadia slept until 8am, instead of also the 5am wake-up call yesterday. However, I was not pleasantly surprised when I slipped down the stairs and bruised my left elbow. Wonderful. A foreshadow? Maybe.

The girls were very up and down today. Either they loved each other, or they were scratching each other. And as it turns out, Claire seems to be the drama queen with all the wailing and crying and dramatic poses. But I guess we already knew that. She needs the spotlight, and I hope that I can steer her in a direction that shows off that talent. Nadia, on the other hand, tends to fly under the radar, knowing just what buttons to push and when to push them. She is in a phase where she gets something (really, anything) from the pantry and bites into it, packaging and all. Ramen noodles? Yep, she crunched on that. Granola bars, wrapper included. She gets into the fridge and takes little bites out of wrapped cheese, with of course, the wrapping still on. I think she is part mouse. At least that is what it looks like when she gets done with whatever she is munching on.

Thursday I am supposed to get my port out. Supposed to. I have become dependant of my little port (no pun intended) and see it as sort of my little life line. My mini-life support, if you will. I don't think I am ready to give it up, whether or not it is broken, and how dumb is that? Why would I want a broken instrument in me? Because, to me, this is the only real choice I have been able to make. You could argue that everything I have done has been a choice, but has it really? It never really was an option for me to do treatment. I was GIVEN the option, but to not do treatment meant death. So is there a choice? And how about reconstruction? All you have to do is take a look around you. Look at the magazines in the store, the movies, the TV shows, the you notice anything? They all are stacked. So yes, I did have the option of recon, but what about society and the statement that is made each day on the importance of female beauty, the importance of being complete, the importance of how we look. Not really an option for me to walk around with nothing. For ME. Others probably are ok with it, but getting breast cancer at 29, I didn't see it as having many options.

What it seems to be for me is a lot of the "choices" I have had to make, have been made to keep me alive. The port has not been the case. The choice to keep the port was based simply on mind over matter. Fooling my cancer into thinking it should never come back, it can never come back. Or maybe I am just fooling myself into believing. There are days when I think to myself, well, if it's going to come back, it's going to come back. Just deal with it. There are other days that I want/need to find a crystal ball. I need to know. I don't know how I will live the rest of my life waiting. But by doing that, the cancer really does win. And I know this with all of my heart, it's just the parts of my brain that need to catch up with my heart. They're trying, but like me today, it's like running through jello.

I just came down stairs from putting Nadia to bed. I will say that there are moments where cancer has not invaded my life. Sweet sweet moments such as reading to Nadia and saying our prayers. And I am sure that there are moments for Dion that are the same, such as right now. He has Claire at our cities baseball team game, eating popcorn, drinking some type of orange drink that she had last time. I am sure that cancer is not anywhere near his mind. I just wish that all of our moments could be like these, I just wish I could have my life back. Or do I?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Well Isn't This Just Great?!?

I told Dion that it is his job to tell me when I turn into a fat cow and cannot wear the clothes that fit last year. Guess what didn't fit this past weekend? Ugh, was I mad mad mad, but that quickly faded away with each beer that I drank. Lite beer, for the record. Now I have to figure out how to lose a few, dang it. That's hard to do when you have a love affair with sweets. Mmmm. Sweets. There's another pound. More to come.....

Saturday, June 10, 2006

I Have Issues

This weekend starts the first of many busy weekends. That is how I can tell that summer has begun. It certainly is not because of the weather. The beauty of Minnesota is that you just never know what you are going to get day to day. It has been in the 80's for quite some time now, but as I look at my Weather Bug icon, it says that it is a mere 54 degrees this chilly morning. No wonder I had to don fleece pants and a sweatshirt. It's cold!

This afternoon we have a wedding to attend. It is the twin sister of the wedding we went to last summer. Can you imagine that whirlwind?!? Yikes. My only hope is that I still fit into one of the dresses I bought last year. That is my first issue. It could be interesting. Not in the least bit funny, but interesting. The other fun fact that I get to deal with today is that I have a slight sunburn on my chest and I am at the itchy stage. I really just want to rip my skin off in hopes that it will dull the itchiness. That is my second issue. I will attempt to keep my hands off of my chest in church, but I can't promise it at the reception.

Here is a huge issue we have in this house. I took the girls to have their pictures done professionally for Father's Day and we have gotten the proofs via email. How does one decide when there are 35 great pictures of these girls? Besides the fact that we might have to sell our first born to pay for the pictures.

"See? Here's a picture of Claire. Isn't it nice? Too bad we couldn't keep her, but we'll always have this photo."

We have to make some decisions pretty soon though. We just have to.

Next weekend Dion is going to Wisconsin to go to a baseball game with his dad, brother, and sister too, I think. I will be flying solo. The question of the hour is what will I do to the house while he is gone? The options are endless, but I think painting is going to be on the list. It'll just be a matter of what I am going to paint. Those options are not endless, but I have a few. The weekend after that I am taking the girls down to their cousins house for her birthday party. They should have a good time, they usually do. I am curious to see if Dion does anything to the house while we are gone. Ok. Scared is a better word. He threatened last time, but didn't do anything. Although this time he won't have the girls to watch, so you never know.

Well, I survived the first week of summer at work, I cannot say the same thing for the little pool in our backyard. I have a feeling that the crappy kids up the road had something to do with the death of our pool. I find it odd that the little spout that you use to blow up the palm tree was ripped off. I don't imagine that squirrels like to do those types of things, but I guess there could be one special one in the group.

"Mom! Scooter Squirrel is trying to eat a plastic pool again!"

But I have to admit that I am leaning more towards the crappy kids. There's a sketch on Saturday Night Live that Cheri Oteri used to do. Her character was named Mrs Daveckio. Her conquest in life was to take the neighbor kids toys if they landed in her yard. Every time we go for a walk we have to step around the crappy neighbor kids toys that they leave on the sidewalk. I always mumble about it since we have to move the stroller around them too, and Dion always calls me Mrs Daveckio. I bet he doesn't find as much humor in it now that our pool is popped. Darn kids. So I had to go buy a new pool, which the girls love, but by God if those bratty kids even come near our yard, I might have to break out our paintball guns. I know, I know....Mrs Daveckio.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Excuse me, I Would Like to Trade Today in For a New Day Please

Today has been a long long looooong day. It has been the kind of day that has made me want to run away for a little bit. They type of day where I would rather have been at work than dealing with the happenings in this house. A day that made me wish I could drink at 8AM. A day that made me absolutely, positively, without a doubt, crazy. You ever had one of those days? It sucks.

We could talk about the fact that Nadia pushed a screen out of our bedroom window, or that she emptied all of her clothes from her dresser onto the floor last night, all the while being naked since she took her pull-up off too. So that is what greeted me when I went into her room this morning. Then we can talk about how she would not, under any circumstances, stay in her chair for lunch. She ended up not getting lunch and I took her to her room for a nap. That turned out to be about 45 minutes worth of a nap. But she had to stay in her room because I had to deal with Thing 1, (Claire) who did not take a nap at all today. But she did manage to break the Swiffer, put one of the cats into her laundry basket with the top on, crawl under our bed when she was supposed to be napping, filled the main floor bathroom sink with foaming soap, slammed her door a total of about 30 times, and managed to tick Thing 2 (Nadia) off about 50 times.

You know, other than that, it's been a wonderful day.


My Eyes!! My Eyes!!

I am not sure if this topic will ever be not funny to me. It's just one of those things that makes me laugh, and I really have no control over it.

Yesterday we took a group of kids to our local pool for work. It was a beautiful day, sunny, in the low 80's, just perfect, even though I didn't put sun block on my feet and now they are burned. Anyway, you see all kinds of people when you go to a public place such as the pool. All these kids, from infants to teens. Looking at all of these teenage girls in their little suits, little do they know that their bodies will be going on a ride and those little suits just may not be an option for them down the road. Pop out a couple of kids and let me know how things are going. Bitter? Yeah, a little, but it's my own fault.

Anyway, we were down to the last hour or so at the pool before we had to round up the group when THEY walked in. Walked is not the word actually. Saunter, stroll, meander, strut, any of these words will do. There were two of them. One was probably in his 70's, the other looked to be in his 20's. The older wore a nice and simple black Speedo. Speedo. He was wearing a Speedo. There was a lot of grey hair involved, covering a lot of his 70-ish year old body, front and back. A lot. One might have thought he was wearing a sweater, but he wasn't. Just a little black Speedo. Now the younger partner in crime was wearing a variation of the Speedo that the rest of us picture in our minds. Don't worry, it was just as tight, but more like little shorts. Little little bright red shorts. Wow. I don't imagine that they were from town as since we live in a small community, someone would know who they were and I just can't imagine wearing that in an environment where someone would know you.

But maybe that's what they do. Some people collect stamps, some collect fancy cars, some people write, some people garden. Maybe these guys go town to town wearing their Speedos making bets on who can get the most stares. There would be the tricky part. Do you stare at the grey sweater guy or the younger short shorts guys? It's really a toss up. But then short shorts guys pulled out all the stops. He knew how to win this town's challenge. He got up from their spot in the corner. We all watched to see what he was going to do. Our eyes followed him to the water slides. No way. There's no way he was going to go down one of them, was he? We lost sight of him behind the slides. Now there's two to choose from. The pretty pinkish purplish one, and the big yellow one. The yellow one you need an inner tube to go down it. Mental visual...

Arms flailing, a shrill "Weeeeeeeee!!!!!!!", a flash of red.....yikes!

"Nope, he's going down the pink one, he didn't get a tube." my high school worker told me.

Interesting. Scarey, but none the less interesting. So we waited. Then we saw it. A flash of red and a splash. He went down the slide, and as soon as he popped up to the surface, another worker of mine did this.....

"Whoo hoo!"

I looked over at her, my eyes opened wide, and she laughed. We watched him swim over to the side and push himself out of the pool. Luckily the tight red suit stayed in place. Next it was sweater guys turn. Was he going to go down the slide too? Nope, he did a little jump into the water, waded around for a bit, then used the ladder to get out. Pretty uneventful. I think the award should go to the first guy. There was more adventure, a splash and even a whoo hoo yelled out. How do you compete with that?

So there you have it. We left shortly after the show, but I can still see them in my mind, and yes, I can still laugh about it. If people don't want me to laugh they should really stop wearing Speedos. That's all there is to it. Pretty simple, huh?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Here you can see the scars from my ports being put in, and the area that looks swollen is actually where the port is located. And of course the little sunburn I got today. The port is located on my right side, just below the clavicle.

My Choice? Out The Window

Well folks, it's about time that you climbed aboard the bitter train with me and head off to the city of Hostility with a layover in the town of Resentful. Whooo whooooooo (please make the universal sign for a train by balling your fist and pumping it up and down while making the train noises. We are going for the full effect here)! Why all the negativity, you ask? Simple. It all boils down to one word. Well, actually two I guess. My PORT! Or as Dion calls it, my Wal-Port. He seems to think that it has been purchased at Walmart and that is why it works so well (can you sense the sarcasm?). Here is the latest....

I went to Mayo on Tuesday to get my study shot and to have my port flushed for the first time since ending Herceptin. Now, for you non-cancer readers, the port was used for treatment, but if a person is done with whatever they are using the port for, you still have to maintain it. And you do that by having it flushed with saline and then injected with Heparine to help prevent clots. And yes, they use needles to do so. Anyway, I have always had a problem with my port, sometimes they couldn't get blood out of it and all of the time it was positional. I had to do funky things like wave my hand in the air to get it to work sometimes. So there I would be, sitting in my chair and this is the scene that would play out....

Me, minding my own business, getting my treatment, when all of a sudden.....beep beep beeeeeep....beep beep beeeeeep....Commence flailing of right arm with minor vulgarities. Good. It worked. For about 3 minutes. Beep beep beeeeeep! Shut up! (yes I yelled at my IV. Many times.)

Now imagine 51 weeks of this. Every week. All the beeps, all the arm waving, all of the frustration. Sometimes I did find that sweet spot where it would infuse the whole 30 minutes without beeping. Those days were few, but so wonderful. Ok, back to Tuesday....

As stated above, I had issues with my port so I wondered how my first flush would be after not using it for a month. Do you remember the date on Tuesday? 6-6-06....interesting. I did not have high hopes of things going well, but I did not expect the following.

The nurse followed the procedure of prepping my port to get the needle in it. She started to infuse and it felt like little bubbles followed along my collar bone. It was an odd feeling, but I had that happen two or three times before. After injecting all that had to be injected in me, the nurse pulled the needle out of my port and I looked down to see saline flowing out of the hole the needle left behind. Not dripping. Flowing. So much so that my shirt got wet. The nurse said she had never seen that before. Great. I'll tell you something, I am getting tired of hearing that phrase. So she decided to try to infuse it again. This time, the skin under my port swelled with saline and leaked again when the needle was pulled out. Well, well, well. I had two nurses looking at my port, and they came to the conclusion that something just wasn't right. I was off to have a chest xray done. Lovely. They thought my port was broken. Again. Except if you remember right, after the port study was done I found out it wasn't broken after all. Just a little moody. Like me.

I talked to my oncologist who said the following. And I quote,

"It's broken. Just take it out. You don't need it, so take it out. It won't work anyway so just have it taken out. Take it out."

After his little "take it out" speech was done, I replied with the following. And I quote,

"So are you trying to tell me to take it out?"

Silence. A little giggle and then, "Yes. Take it out."

So here's the part that is frustrating to me. I wasn't ready to have the port removed. It was one of the only things that I had control over, and I wanted to savor that feeling. I wanted the port removed on MY terms, not the ports. I wanted to pick and choose when I had it removed, not be forced to do it now. I am not ready yet. But, regardless of me being ready or not, I have an appointment next Thursday to have it removed. Dang it. That is another reason why I was procrastinating. I know from the first port that it is removed by walking my little butt (ha ha...little butt....) into the office, getting into the reclining chair, having the area numbed and opened and the thing is pulled out. Pulled out! I get shivers just thinking about it. Just a little bit of drugs. That is all I would need to get through the event without getting pale (or in my case, even more pale) and feeling like I was going to fall out of the chair. I have a week to get my brain all worked up in a frenzy. And ladies and gentlemen, that just rocks.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Lost, In More Ways Than One...

Today was the first day of our summer program, which is always kind of crazy. My neighbor works at a school in Wisconsin, and she has told me many times that I have the wrong kind of school job, and that I need to find one that has the summers off. I am starting to get it. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy being with the kids in the summer, but it is such a hectic time, and stressful, to say the least.

I took the girls to my parents house today to visit with Grandpa (Grandma is in WI). They had a good time and were pretty good for the most part. I decided to call Dion to see if he wanted to meet for dinner, and he did. I suggested Kings, which if you are ever in town you really ought to go there for their burgers. I have been there 3 or 4 times, but Dion has never been there before, so I thought he'd love it. He was pretty excited, and I believe he would have loved it if it were open on Mondays. Poor Dion. So back to town we went and tried a place called Bayview, which also has great burgers. And cheap. I guess they are too cheap though because they were closed too. Ok. Next! I suggested going to a new cafe down the road. Keep in mind that we were in different cars since Dion was coming from work. We drive down to the cafe. Closed. I gave up. We went to McDonald's (or Old McDonald's, as Claire calls it) and ate there. What a bust.

Tomorrow I am off to Mayo-land to get my monthly shot and to have my port flushed. Woo hoo! I can hardly wait for that one! I am pretty excited though to see some of my favorite Mayo staff, and maybe go to Sam's Club or something to at least try to be productive. I can't believe I ended treatment a month ago. I don't know where time has gone, but more than that, I haven't had the crash that I was expecting where treatment ended. At least not yet. I suppose there's time for those shenanigans still. I know that I have my check coming up in August, and a part of me wants to do it tomorrow. I want to know how things are going, if there are any changes. But every time I go into that office, the same thing is told to me...

"Everything looks great!"

But is that day coming when I am told something different? And do I even waste time worrying about that? I had a co-worker ask me today if I was going to get my port out soon. It's very hard to explain this to non-cancer people. I like to think of myself as a spiritual person, someone who believes in God and faith, who trys to follow the WWJD idea as much as I can. But when it comes to cancer, I lean more on the superstitious side. There's a little part in my that feels as soon as I get this port out, I am going to need it again. And isn't it even funny that I can't even write what I am thinking? I write "I am going to need it again" instead of saying "As soon as I get this port out, the cancer will return". There. I said it. Now I have probably jinxed myself, but so be it. Maybe I will live on the edge and not wear my lucky underwear to my check up appointment. Maybe I will let my guard down when I have testing done with the knowledge that it's gone and I am fine. Maybe I will not fear everything within my body but embrace it for what it really is...nothing. Maybe I will go to all of my appointments without Dion since there will be nothing to find anyway. Maybe I will find the purpose as why I was spared and get on with my life. Maybe. But probably not.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Day Late and a Dollar Short

Dion calls me crazy sometimes. Ok, mostly it is only when I take the girls to the grocery store with me. And yes, that can get a little hairy, but all in all they do a good job. Claire even walked beside the cart with me while Nadia rode. Impressive for this little devil of mine. She has been known now and again to dart off in what seems to be five different directions at one time. But this day, she was pretty good.

We finally get into line, and at this point I knew I am testing the God's of good behavior, so I need to be extra careful. I need to keep an eye out for all of the fun little toys at the check-out, for the candy in the shape of a baby bottle, for the product that looks like a juice box, but in reality is a box of bubbles. What company in their right minds would make a product like that? As an adult I would not be surprised if I drank it, that is how much it looks like a juice box. How dumb. Anyway, I tend to get a little impatient while waiting in line. And this was no exception.

The girl in front of me had less than a handful of items that she placed on the conveyer belt and kept right by her side. I thought that was kind of odd, but figured since she was on her cell phone she didn't want to lose track of where her items were. But the thing that got my goat was she stood at the end of the belt, making it impossiblefor me to start unloading my cart. Now, keep in mind that I still have thie girls with me, and I am fighting the good fight in the isle of items that look like one thing, but really are another. Seriously, why not make a lighter look like a sucker, if we are going to start doing stuff like that. Or how about matches shaped like french fries? I think I am on to something here....

I have an item in my hand which happened to be a box of spinach, , and cheese dip (oh my lord it rocks my world!) and I start to move it back and forth, trying to push her forward with my "fan". It doesn't work. I mutter "Move..." under my breath, but I had forgotten that she was on the phone and couldn't hear me anyway. The girls are getting restless, great, and I am stuck waiting on phone girl to buy her three things. Which by the way, what was she buying that she had to keep next to her side? What was so personal that it could not take a trip up the black conveyer belt without her? What was......oh...ohhhhhhhh!!!! Now I understood everything. You see, she had her three little items stacked neatly on top of each other, praying that one hid the other, but forgetting that there is writing on the side of most packages. And yes, I read them.

On top was a nice little box of vitamins, not your average daily vitamin, but one of those more focused vitamins. I wouldn't know the kind since I don't believe in vitamins anyway, but that's a different story. Under the package of vitamins was well, a box of, "protection", and under that was an EPT test. Huh. Seems to me if you are buying the third item, it is a little late for the second item. But maybe that's just me. Maybe it was hopeful wishing on her part, maybe she was saying, "If I just pass this test I promise to use item two from now on". And then I wondered who she was talking to on the phone. Was it "him"? Was she explaining how she was so crafty in her product placement that no one knew?

"Never fear! I bought vitamins!"

But she finally moved forward so I could start putting my items on the belt. And that was the last I saw of her. I wonder if she passed her test or not......