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Tuesday, October 31, 2006


It's Halloween, fun for all. Or not. Or maybe, I guess time will tell. As of right now, I've had better days, but so goes life I guess.

I don't really have a lot to say today, but, well, I guess I could comment on some things. Ok. Here are some things that make you go hmmmm (remember that song?).
  • There's a sign in the cafeteria that says the following along with pictures of dancing fruits and veggies, "The more you eat 5 a day, the more you will squeeze junk out". Now, is it me, or is that gross? I can only think of poop when I see that sign.
  • I saw a couple walking yesterday morning at 5:30, obviously it was still dark. The male had on the reflective traffic control vest. Do you think they fight over who has to wear it?
  • I played floor hockey with the kids at work. I was very sore the next day, think I'm out of shape?
  • I know all of the words to the Laurie Berkner Band songs. Maybe even all of the dance moves.
  • I sleep WAY better on the couch than I do in my bed.
  • My middle name is Elizabeth. We thought about naming Claire "Elizabeth Lee Flaska" but that spelled out ELF. I didn't like that.
  • Dion thought when I was pregnant with Nadia that her name should be "Candace". **involuntary shiver** I said little boys would be calling asking for "Candy". He got mad.
  • Nadia calls bubble gum, "buckle gum". She just recently stopped swallowing it.
  • I've got nothing else right now.

I thought I had a little bit more to wonder about, but I guess I don't. For now. Maybe in a little bit I will have something wonderful to write about, but I doubt it.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Topic: Unknown

I have been sitting here for a few moments trying to think about what I should name this entry, which has happened before, so I gave up and went with what is above. Daylight savings has me all confused and tired when I shouldn't be, but I am happy with the fact that tomorrow won't be as hard to get up in the morning. I have to work 6am to 6pm tomorrow. That's right folks, a 12 hour day is in the works for me.

An update on my mom....things went from bad to worse for her, and to make a long story short, she is in the nursing home for rehabilitation and so they can care for her infected incision using the wound vac. Wait. Maybe I have already told you this. Dang daylight savings....

I had to take Nadia to the ER tonight. She decided that it would be fun to go towards the steps at full speed and see how long it would take her to bounce to the bottom. Well, I guess it didn't really happen that way, but when I heard a loud noise coming from the stairs and expected to see a laundry basket but saw my daughter's blond curls, well, let's just say panic mode set in. It looked like she was falling down the stairs in fast motion and I felt like I was moving in slow motion. What a horrible experience that was, but we got to the ER and she was acting fine, and the only thing she had to show of her cartwheels were a few red marks. Nothing else. The doctor was leaving the room and he said that she would probably make a good gymnast, which is what Dion and I talk about all of the time. But apparently what saved her from having broken bones was that she must be limber and flexible and just rolled with it. It was scary, none the less.

So this is what I am working on with my therapist. It is the whole idea of how I can get out of this feeling of limbo that I am in when it comes to my cancer. Like I told her, it feels like I am waiting for the other shoe to drop, for my body to fail me again. She mentioned that it is hard to find a balance between where you don't think everything wrong is cancer, but you still stay familiar with your body. But most of it is in the way that I am thinking. She gave me a book to look over called, "Mind Over Mood". It is supposed to be an aide in changing the way that you think about some things. I am very curious and open for new ideas, so I am looking forward to perusing the book.

But for now, I have to go. It feels so late.....dang daylight savings. Wish me luck surviving tomorrow.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

By Popular Demand

I have told this story to a few people, and each one of them have told me I should write it down, so I will. But if you are uncomfortable with the proper terms for male and female anatomy, you should probably stop reading now, and hold out until I publish something else. If you are ok with it, continue reading.

I have been (and I say "I" because Dion is not as comfortable with the proper terms) answering the girls questions of male verses female anatomy. They have been taught the terms from me, but still have a hard time pronouncing them. So, to get you up to speed, a male has a peanuts and a woman has a bagina. Ok, here's the story.

I picked Claire and Nadia up from daycare the other day and their provider told me that Claire had put peanut butter in her ear. I said the following, not even thinking...

"Claire! If you put peanut butter in your ears, peanuts will grow out of them."

Quite a visual, I know, and don't try and tell me that you didn't picture it, I know you did. I was mentally giving myself a head slap as I loaded them into the van. It was pretty quiet for a while until Claire said,

"Mommy, I don't want peanuts to grow out of my ears" I stifled a laugh, but could not control it when Nadia added,

"Yeah, and we don't put baginas in our ears either."

Oh my, what have I done?!?

Oh but it gets better. Well, maybe not better, that was pretty gosh darn funny. But here's another one.

Claire is very interested in my breast reconstruction and all of my scars. I was in bed with her for bedtime and she was hiding Care Bears up my sweatshirt. Then she asked what something was, and I could tell she was touching something, but since I have no feeling on all part of my boobs, I wasn't sure what she was touching. I looked and said,

"Well, that's a nipple Claire."

To which she said,

"Hmmm. Nipple. It looks like bubble gum."

There you go. That is Anatomy 101 in the Flaska household. Sorry if it offended anyone, or made them uncomfortable. Don't hold it against me please. But come on, you did laugh at least once, right?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


This post is not to be confused with the upcoming holiday of Halloween. No no my friends, that is the sound when my husband sees one of the following....

  1. A spider
  2. A centipede
  3. A bat
  4. Any fast moving bug
  5. A mouse

Why am I bringing this topic up? Well, our neighbors have started a rather large remodeling project, and it just so happens the day they started with the banging of the hammers and cutting of the lumber, Girl Kitty (Cotton) came waltzing into the dining room with a mouse in her mouth. Score one for Girl Kitty, except she would rather play around with it than kill it, so I was left to hunt it down and dispose of it. Dion was at work, and I will admit, I was a little squeamish, but I got the job done.

Until the next morning, when at 5:45AM Dion got me up and out of bed to get the second mouse that Girl Kitty decided to mess around with. Man those little guys are quick. I was ducking under the table, running from one end of the room to the other with Girl Kitty hitting the little guy like a hockey puck. At one point Dion came sprinting through the room with a broom. I wasn't too sure what he planned on doing since the moment he saw the mouse come towards him, he screamed (eeeeekkkkkk!) and ran away, leaving me of course laughing. At one point he was going to hit the mouse with the broom, but I told him that it was too early for me to be cleaning mouse guts off the floor. Anyway, I got the second mouse with a little corralling from Girl Kitty, and I can hardly wait until tomorrow to see if there are anymore. I think I will call the neighbors and ask them if they are missing some little fury critters.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why Menopause Sucks in the Winter, By Sue Flaska

As you may or may not know, I am in a chemically induced menopause as part of a study through Mayo. Every 28 days I drive down to Mayo and wait 30-60 minutes to get a shot to shut down my ovaries. It really is great fun. But that is besides the point. So let's set the stage, shall we, on why menopause sucks in the winter.

When you are in the "pause", one of the side effects of course is hot flashes. My whole life I have been plagued with being extra cold, so I thought hot flashes may work in my benefit in the winter. Wrong. And here is why.... was a little chilly last night, so I had on flannel (of course) pajamas, and just when I snuggled down into bed and got that ahhhhh feeling you get when you reach that perfect temperature, it started. It was slow at first, building into the tingly sensation you get when you know you are starting to get flushed, until it turned into a full blown sweat. Off came the covers and I used them to fan myself. Then it's gone. Really, it's that fast. Then I was back to square one of being cold, and that is why hot flashes suck in the winter. The whole night is spent this way, explaining why I never get a good sleep.

Only 3 more years to go.....

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Poor Carol

Carol has had a long week. After spending 2 nights in ICU after her surgery, she ended up with pneumonia, then ended up taking a spill in the bathroom, then had violent chills/sweats, had to have a CT to make sure there wasn't anything leaking inside of her (there wasn't), and all in all has had a rough rough week.

Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers as now they think she may have an infection at the wound site. We'll find out more today I think. Like I said, poor Carol.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Really? Are You Kidding Me?

It was a long day in Red Wing yesterday. Carol's surgery was supposed to take 2-3 hours and ended up taking about 5 due to large amounts of scar tissue, at least larger than what was thought. But she made it though ok and my dad and I were waiting in her room when the phone rang. She was having chest pains, and pain in her left arm which made them think something cardiac related, so Carol ended up in ICU.

I had to make some phone calls and there is a little area where you can place outside calls. Go figure this out, it's right by the bathroom. Not a boys or girls room, it's a one person bathroom with lots of capabilities of echoing. Like you want to be talking to loved ones with someone next to you making a run for the boarder. Gross. Anyway, that wasn't my problem. I heard a faint whooooooosssshhhhhhhh....then it kept getting louder and louder until I saw the culprit...a guy on a carpet cleaner machine. I told the person I was talking to to wait a second until the guy passed, except he didn't. You see, someone waved him down to talk to him and he literally was 2 feet away from me. It went from a "whoooooooosssshhhhh" to a WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSHHHHHHH!!!!! And there he sat talking to whomever. It's not like he didn't see me there, we made eye contact and everything, it just didn't matter. I finished up the conversation and as I hung up the phone, there he went on his merry little way. Really? Are you kidding me?!?!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Keep Carol in Your Prayers

My mom is having surgery probably as we speak. At least I know she had to be at the hospital at 6:45 and prep is usually about an hour or so. Anyway, she is having her sigmoid resectioned. What does that mean? Basically they are removing a section of her colon where the diverticulitis is located, and stapling it back together. Sounds like fun, huh?

She will be in the hospital anywhere from 5 to 7 days and there's a six week recovery, which if you know my mom, will be hard for her.

But anyway, I have to finish getting the girls ready. Claire has preschool this morning, and I will be bouncing back and forth from the hospital, so I gotta run.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Homecoming in Kenosha WI

What I should say here is what happens in Kenosha, stays in Kenosha. Should I say that, or do I make an attempt to explain to you the evils of shots, beer, and Long Island Ice Teas? Or do I just comment on the evils of mixing them all together and partying like a Kennedy? Apparently I thought I was 21 I write this, I am washing the clothes from the weekend, not that they needed it....yuck.

Keep in mind that I had a 5 hour drive ahead of me. Now imagine opening your eyes and looking at your watch after "going" to bed at around midnight, and seeing the evil numbers 2:08....PM. That's right folks, PM. I sat up in bed in a daze wondering how it was possible that I slept for 14 hours. Oh, right, the reason lies in the clothes in the washer. Still yuck.

I will say that I had a blast and it was awesome to see people from my past with whom I had good times with, one was even a friend from high school. That was awesome. Anyway, here's to college friends! Sorry to Brandy who had to do a load of laundry at 5:30 AM, and Lori, please tell me your car survived me! Holy crap. How did you guys get up so early Sunday morning?!?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

You'd Never Know

If you are a person I see on occasion, maybe a friend or co-worker or such, there is something that you should know about me. I am depressed. There. I said it. Ok, that's all I wanted to tell you.

Ok, just kidding, hence the reason that those around do not know that I have, as I have been told from a psychiatrist, "major depression". I'm pretty good at hiding it huh? Except from those around me where I feel safe to lash out at them, knowing they will still love me and forgive me. To them, I am deeply sorry for doing this, and I promise I am on the road to where I will not act the way I have been acting, unless of course it is because you did something that legitimately pissed me off, in which case.....

Anyway, I have talked before that cancer is like an onion, the more layers you peel back, the more layers you find underneath. It actually took a friend to basically say, "You're no fun anymore" to get me off of my butt and where I needed to be. I knew that things weren't going so well, but I guess I did not see to what degree things had fallen apart on me. That is, until I started talking to the doctor and the flood gates opened, and things that I have been thinking about for quite some time came rolling out of my mouth. He referred me to a psychologist, which I am seeing on Friday morning.

And here's the thing. A lot of people would be ashamed for having to seek outside help, and I am no different. I don't like the fact that I cannot deal with this stuff on my own, that I can't sort my thoughts out to make one complete thought, that I have to waste more tears on the cancer crap. I am tired of cancer making me cry. I am saying all of this for any person any where to read about, so they know. So you know that going to get extra help is ok. That doesn't make you weak, that doesn't mean you are crazy (although I like to say to Dion that I am going to the "crazy" doctor), that doesn't make you less of a person. Unless of course you think of me that way right now. Then this is falling on deaf ears (or blind eyes, whichever). Which is ok. Everyone has a right to their opinion, right? And here's the kicker for all of you who like a little twist in the plot. It's not just us cancer people who need can also be those around us, caregivers, family, spouses.... That's right my friends. Mental health is not just limited to those of us who have had to fight a disease. It knocks on any one's door, looking for someone to open the door just a little tiny crack so it can bully it's way in. Damn bully.

So I guess what I am saying is that even though I am wearing this sweatshirt "Laughing in the Face of Cancer" and I do talk a lot about it, and I seem ok from the outside, there's a quiet fury boiling inside, just waiting. There might be someone in your life the same way as I am, and I hope you can see it and offer them some kind of help.

I Was Followed by an Old Lady

Seriously, I was. In the grocery store. Ok wait, I should clarify, she was actually ahead of me in line but every 10 seconds or so she would turn and look at me with this old lady look of wrath. She did that same routine about 5 times before she was done checking out. I started to wonder if I had a boogie hanging from my nose, or maybe my zipper was down, or maybe when playing with the kids at work I got marker on my face, or maybe she noticed that it's close to when I have to get highlights in my hair, or maybe she liked my purse, or maybe she liked my shoes (SOME people DO like my shoes, Beth). She finished checking out and I kid you not, went over to the Halloween candy up front and started to play with it, all the while looking in my direction. Never once looking at the candy. I have to say that I was getting a little nervous, until I remembered that she was an old lady and I might be able to outrun her. Maybe. But I wasn't wearing good running shoes, and I was also buying 2 and a half gallons of milk and some fake Mountain Dew. That's a lot to carry. But I made it past her and ran into someone I knew in the parking lot and chatted, keeping an eye on the doors for Grambo.

I got home and told Dion and my mom the story, and they thought she was looking at my sweatshirt. Want to know what it says?

"My oncologist is my homeboy"

I Like to Peel, Pick, Scratch, and Everything Inbetween

It is a known fact by many that I have some bad habits. Nail biting for example. I have saved my right pointer finger as a "biter" and am proud to say that I am doing well with the rest of my nails. Yea for me.

As the title of this post states, I like to pick at things. When Dion gets a sunburn....oooooohhhhh.....I love it. Not the pain that goes with the sunburn, but that means in a few days that I get to do some serious picking. When I had my last big surgery, the plastic surgeon said to be sure to pick off the scabs because it will heal better and faster. Pick the scabs?!? JACKPOT! If there are scabs that need to be picked, I'm your man. Or woman. Whatever.

Where is this going, you ask? I had to close the program tonight at work. Actually, I should say that I got to close the program. I had a blast with the kids and realised how much I miss them. Anyway, we played in the gym for a while and I noticed something on the floor. It was peeling. It looked like the gym floor spent too much time in the sun and was losing layers rapidly. In reality, something must have gone awry with the wax that was put on the floor because it was peeling up. Holy cow. A whole gym was mine to peel while I played with the kids. I got one girl to peel a little bit with me, even after she said "Eewwww! Gross!" I had to make her stop peeling. I have met my match.

I told this to Dion and I think he is worried about me. Only a peeler would understand.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Toxic Friends-post #400!!

First, I must comment on the fact that this is my 400th post on this blog. If I were a talk show I would have back all of the crazy guests that made people write letters. I would certainly invite posts, "What The Hell?!?", "The Magic of Veet", and "Where Did I Go?" among others that were my personal favorites. But focus Sue focus. It's time to devote the appropriate time to post 400. So here it goes...

I makes me crazy that I cannot post on other blogs. Ok, I will admit, that in the past week I have not tried to post something, really because I go through all the work of writing and logging in, and typing the special code, all for naught. I swear I will try it soon, just not tonight. Anyway, I just read one of my favorite blogs to follow and had to follow up in my blog about the topic Amalia just wrote about. And toxic people is basically it, so here it goes.

If I have learned anything in this life of mine, it is this. I have learned that sometimes, things just don't matter. Sometimes I just don't have time for some people. Sometimes there are people who come into our lives (or are already there and we just don't see them for what they are) who are just plain old poison to us. Sometimes we are poison to other people, but it's easier to talk about the toxins in other people than ourselves, so we'll stick to that.
Although it may be hard, and sad, and depressing, you have to let go of those people. Some I realise are not that easy to let go of, whether it's a family member or maybe someone you work with, but most certainly you can look at your life and who is in it as "friends" and figure out who is doing more harm than good. This is not to be confused with that friend that you can call any time and both of you can complain about any and everything, that is therapeutic. Good for the soul, if you will. That's always good. But there are the people who are just so negative, who subconsciously seem to try and do you in. Just stop. Stop causing yourself pain that is not needed.

There have been a few friends who have left our lives since I was diagnosed with cancer. Not to worry, they probably don't read this, or even know it exists. I used to get upset at this, I used to try and re-connect, I used to feel bad about it. Do you know what I do now? I say "Oh well". I am lucky enough to have a few strong friendships who have seen my through hell and high water, and I know will continue to do so.

Take that step of disconnecting with caution as it will be painful at first. But no more painful than all of the times that "friend" has let you down. As Dion would say, "Quick like a band-aid."


Monday, October 02, 2006

When it Rains...

It pours...into the ceiling panels in our basement. That's right folks! Our dishwasher is leaking, and doing a mighty fine job of it. Which leads me to wonder if that is covered under our insurance policy. That would also explain why the kitchen throw rug is always wet. And here I was blaming the kids for it. But when we noticed that water came up from the floor tiles when stepped on just right, something was amok.

Now, our kitchen floor has seen better days I am sure, like maybe 100 years ago when the house was built, and yes, we have thought about replacing it, but money is kind of tight right now. Ok, strangling us, right now. Dion gets his bonus in a few weeks and while the thought of paying off medical bills and credit cards has lingered in our minds, I think the new focus will be on the mess in our kitchen. Great. Just how we wanted to use the money. Isn't that how life always goes?

Skittles and My Camper Misty

Taste the rainbow....

For some reason I was inspired to buy a bag of Skittles today. What is so odd about that, you ask? Well, the only time in my life that I have purchased Skittles was when I was working at camp. For some reason, I always craved Skittles there. So tastey, so fruity. It just seemed to me to be a camp treat. So I bought Skittles from the canteen, along with my soda, which unfortunately would just foam in my mouth from all the sugar in the Skittles. I should have just had water, I probably would have saved about $30 each summer by doing so. But hind sight is 20/20.

Anyway, It was my first summer as a counselor, in I think the first month of the summer. There are rules at camp, one of them being no food in the cabin. The last thing you wanted to deal with was a furry forest creature sharing the cabin with a bunch of screaming girls. So let's set the stage....

It was the first night of the week with the new group of girls. They were middles school aged girls, which were one of my favorite aged groups, but that's besides the point. It was lights out time, probably around 10 or so. It amazes me now how good of sleep I got every single night while working at camp, and the amount of sleep I got too. Not to mention quiet time every day, which I slept through. Hey, it's the fresh air!

I had just turned the lights out when I heard a little rattling of a candy wrapper. Crinkle crinkle crinkle....munch munch munch....crinkle crinkle crinkle...munch munch munch. I sighed.

"Whoever is eating whatever, just make sure that you don't drop it on the...." clink clink clink...roll roll roll... " ground." Too late. I could hear candy rolling all over the floor in the complete darkness.

"Oooooo------kaaaaayyy. Whoever dropped all of the candy on the floor, make sure you pick it all up tomorrow morning." It was too late to go hunting for candy.

I found out the next day that the candy in question were Skittles, and the camper in question was Misty, both of which were part of my favorite things that summer. Misty was awesome, and such a sweet kid, and little did she know that by dropping her Skittles, our cabin bonded faster than any other I had that summer. At the end of the week I bought the whole group a bag of Skittles, even on my little $140 a week paycheck. They were worth it.

So today, by buying the bag of Skittles, I was able to relive that moment that summer, and I was able to think of Misty hoping that she has stayed the sweet kid she was 12 years ago, which I am sure she did. 12 years. Wow. She's got to be about 25 years old now. Crazy how time flies by. Crazy how a bag of candy can bring back so many memories.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

October is....

I told Dion that Claire's class is going on a field trip. This was our conversation....

"Guess where Claire's class is going?" I said.

"I have no clue." said Dion.

"Well, what month is it?" I questioned.

"Ummmm..." pause. "They're going to the hospital?" Dion asked.

"The hospital?!? No!! There's going to the farm!" I exclaimed.

Now, if that doesn't tell you how much breast cancer is still, and will always be in our life, I don't know what will. He thought the hospital because of breast cancer awareness month...could you imagine that field trip?!?

The Farm

We went to the farm. We found out that Claire, Nadia, & I have slight allergies, but boy did we have fun!!