Monday, December 3, 2012
One aspect of the holidays that we love around here is Carols in the Park. All through December, pretty much every community puts on an outdoor carol sing. There's music, food, kids' entertainment, and Santa. People bring picnics, blankets to sit on--groups of friends will go together. It's like a summer music festival with a Christmas theme. Back in the US, I attended lots of Christmas carol services--but of course, they were mostly indoor or I spent them shivering outdoors. Those hushed church services have their charms as well, but we love the outdoor ones here.
There were some kid's games and activities on offer, and Nate and his buddy wanted to ride in the little jeeps that were set up in the parking lot. When they got to the front of the line, they were told that they had to have an adult ride with them. Lucky, lucky me--I was the only parental figure in the area. So, picture this-- (or actually, don't.) I had to sit up behind them on the back of the jeep, and put one leg on either side of the driver, so I could have a foot on the gas and brake pedals. And also lean forward to grab the wheel if necessary.
Hmmm. You might notice from the photo above, I was not attired for jeep driving by-proxy. And that dress did not have a lot of "give" to it. I looked at the guy running the ride. "Um, I'm not exactly dressed for this," I said. In trademark Aussie fashion he waved away my concern, "Aw, she'll be right!" And off we went, round and round this little track, I'm sure with me flashing the unfortunate bystanders each time. Of course, the boys jerked the wheel too hard before I could stop them, which caused us to hurtle into the tires set up in the center of the track. The attendant was a little annoyed with us, so not only was I scandalous, I was chastened for my failure to supervise, too! And then my flip flop broke when I tried to modestly disembark the jeep! You just can't win sometimes.
Wardrobe malfunctions notwithstanding, it was a lovely evening. The music was beautiful, the lights were sparkly, the weather was cooling down (mercifully). Christmas in Oz is pretty great.
And luckily, I'll probably never see the people at the jeep track again! And that is the best gift of them all.
Saturday, November 24, 2012
Last night I spent a relatively restless night sleeping in Grace's room. She came down with a little tummy bug and fever yesterday afternoon and we have an unspoken agreement that when she's sick, Mama sleeps on the other bed in her room.
I am less like a mother though, and more like an indentured servant. Or is there much of a difference? All through the night, she'd call out at random intervals for me to adjust her blankets, hand her her water bottle (which was perfectly within her reach), or sing her a song. It was clear she was uncomfortable with fever, but I could also tell she was milking the situation, just a little bit. When she woke up for the day at 6:47am, fever-free and full of energy, I handed her off to Jason and went back to sleep, still in the extra bed in her room.
Today, Nate and I ran out to the mall to pick up a few things. On the way there, he mentioned that his stomach hurt. I felt his forehead and it was definitely warmish. So I found myself buying him a new Zac Power book to read and a $3 can of imported Canada Dry. (What? Ginger is good for the tummy, right? I was walking past the "international food kiosk" at the mall and it was an impulse buy.) Of course, he didn't like how it tasted so now there is $2.80 worth of ginger ale sitting on my kitchen counter, condensation slowly spreading outward in a little pool. And the new book? It's sitting on the coffee table while he watches Phineas and Ferb. Oh well.
How are you? I hope that someone is seeing that all your needs, real or imagined, are attended to.
Monday, November 5, 2012
Friends! I'm still here! How are you? I haven't blogged in months now and I have no good excuses to offer. Um, the dog ate it? My blog was shut down for revealing secrets of national security? I've been on a whirlwind book tour? I've been in the Big Brother house?
No, none of the above. First I was kind of in a funk, I guess. Well, and then life got really busy. And then blogging became one of those things--like when you haven't replied to an email and then too much time passes and you're overwhelmed at the thought of replying cause it's been so long...like, what do I say? How do I sum it all up? Anyone? No? Just me, then.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
|Me, towards the end of radiation treatment, hospital gown in hand. As you can see, I wasn't kidding about the Uggs-puffy vest-no bra-last night's ponytail combo. Stellar. Sorry, boys! She's taken!|
I hadn't actually been back to see her since a visit right after my diagnosis, back in February. Over the last several months, we've been fortunate enough to be pretty healthy as a family, and the one time Nate was sick, Jason took him to the doctor.
In telling the story of how I found out I had breast cancer, I often tell people how, after that initial ultrasound, the radiologist who read the scan recommended that I return for a second scan in 6 months' time. That there were a few cysts, but nothing to be really concerned about. I would've followed that recommendation without worry; after all, I was only trying to be responsible in getting that ultrasound anyway.
But when I saw my GP the day after the scan, she read the report and then kind of stared into space for a second. "You know," she said, "I think you should consider getting an appointment at the breast clinic in the city, just to check it out and make sure everything is fine." And so I did, the next day. And you know the rest.
This past Monday, she and I chatted about my radiation treatment, while she printed off the letter I needed. I told her that I'd been wanting to thank her for that initial recommendation. It set off the chain of events that lead me to find that I had breast cancer in an early stage, instead of finding it much later and perhaps with a more grave prognosis. "I've often remarked to others," I told her, "how grateful I am that you referred me to the breast clinic, when you could've easily just told me to wait 6 months. So, thank you." (And as an aside, the remarkable thing to me is that nothing in that initial ultrasound turned out to be cancer...it was a lump that wasn't even picked up in the original scan!)
She kind of shook her head and told me she couldn't believe it when she'd gotten the call from the breast clinic. "The thing is," she said, "I could've just as easily told you to get another scan in 6 months-I've certainly done that before. I don't know what made me recommend that you get it checked out."
Now, me being me...of course it's my belief that God graciously intervened in that whole scenario. I don't understand it, but I'm thankful all the same. But even besides that, I've been thinking since then about that little nagging voice, that sense of intuition, that gut instinct that people have when it comes to their particular field. My oncologist used this kind of language today when I asked him a question about an aspect of my treatment. He responded that there was wasn't a big body of research for this particular thing I was asking, then he said, "But my gut instinct is...". It's what Malcolm Gladwell talks about in that book Blink. (Which, incidentally, I've never read. Do you ever do that? Summarize books or movies you've never actually read or seen?)
But from what I understand, Gladwell talks about this idea of informed intuition. He calls it "thin-slicing", the ability to assess a situation from a very brief window of exposure to it. Where a person can have a hunch, a snap judgment, a feeling about something that feels spontaneous, but is actually fed by years of their own experience and study. So that, even though they can't necessarily articulate why they have the opinion they hold, they just do. That all those years of study and experience combine in a subconscious moment--a blink, I guess. Me being me again...I think there can definitely be a divine element at work here, too. Not some kind of magical voice necessarily, but a nudge when you need it. Gladwell's point is that we should all tune into this intuition...that we all have it in some way. At least, I think that's his point. I haven't read the book yet, you see.
I've found over the course of the last several months that I'm relying quite a bit on the intuition of these folks. Of course, there's more than that to back them up. Years of research, my own pathology reports, data from thousands of other cases, an established standard of care--it's not like we're operating on spit and fairy dust or something. But, I feel better knowing that they are applying their own "hunches" in taking care of me. In fact, I was talking with my radiation oncologist a few weeks ago about scheduling followup appointments with her. Along with my GP, there are 3 other doctors that are kind of managing different aspects of my treatment. She said something like, "I know it's a hassle to have all these appointments, but we'll space them out, and they'll lessen as time goes on." And I said, "No, I actually like it. The more smart, experienced people looking at me and my case, the better." Team Amy is always looking for more star players. Clearly, it takes a village of experts to keep me operating at full capacity. So we all need to keep our heads in the game. Got that?
I think I'm gonna read that book.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I had my last day of radiation treatment last Wednesday. Yay! I baked brownies for all the radiation treatment staff and turned in my hospital gown. We all signed each other's yearbooks and promised to K.I.T. over the summer.
It all went just fine. I'll tell you more soon. I'm posting now to say hi, and I missed you. And also cause my dad just sent a very snippy email to my sister and me:
"Saturday will be one full month since either of you has blogged. In recognition of that landmark date there will be no cake and cocktails on the deck at the Briarpatch. Please make no plans to attend.
And because let it never be said that I am not a people-pleaser, LET IT NEVER BE SAID, I ran right over here. Bottom line: I'm doing pretty well, I did not receive the mutant superpowers promised to me in the brochure, but life is good.
More on the details tomorrow!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Monday: "Okay! Just cause you're going to the hospital everyday doesn't mean you can't look nice! Get those skinny jeans on! Let's wear some eyeliner! And your new lip gloss!
Tuesday: "Hmmm, I don't really feel like putting makeup on today, but this headband is cute. Oh, and I think I'll wear my new boots."
Wednesday: "It's cold. I don't wanna take my Uggs off. And these yoga pants are perfectly presentable."
Thursday: "I mean, it's not obvious that I slept in this shirt. I'll just put a bra on and wear it."
Friday: "Okay, so I slept in this shirt, wore it yesterday, and then slept in it again. It's not visibly dirty. Why put on a bra to just take it off again at the hospital? Where's my puffy vest?"
My friends, we are just steps away from me going in my bathrobe. Well, they mention fatigue as a primary side effect of radiation, but no one warned me of a progressive, weakening ability to give a flip about what I'm wearing/how I look. I think this issue alone needs its own ribbon. Ideas?
Monday, May 28, 2012
As we drove, a news brief came on the radio about a prison nearby that has gone smoke-free as of today. As in, none of the prisoners are allowed to smoke anymore. Can you IMAGINE what that place will be like over the next few days? I get the shakes just thinking about it.
All Ava heard were the words "smoking" and "prisons". So she goes, "Wait, are prisoners allowed to smoke?" I hadn't really been listening to the report, so I said, "I guess they used to, but maybe not anymore. I think in most prisons they can." Meanwhile thinking...there is just no way you can realistically be prepared for the variety of topics that get thrown your way as a parent. It's a good think I took that Sociology class on Correctional Systems! The value of a liberal arts education, right there.
Then Nate says, "Well, they've gotta do something to make prison more fun."
And it was one of those moments where you just wanna press the pause button, and truly savor, marvel at what comes out of your kid's mouth. (Maybe in fact, like a smoker savors a smoke? Not that I'd know.) Because as hilarious as that statement was...the whole idea of prison being fun defeats the purpose, right? Which Ava was quick to point out. As hilarious as it was, I totally got the heart of what he meant: Geez, those guys are locked up already. This just seems like insult to injury.
And the fact that my 6 year old son, with non-smoking parents and almost no exposure to it, interpreting it as fun? When in fact, all he's ever heard about smoking is how bad it is? Well, like I said, I was marveling.
I laughed out loud, I couldn't help it. It delighted me, in the way that something unexpected and strange does. I know it's cliche to say "I don't know where he gets it from", but I DON'T KNOW WHERE HE GETS IT FROM. Ava scoffed at the idea of prison being fun. Nate was quiet a moment.
"Ok, then what about lollipops?", he said.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
There were hammocks in the backyard too, and Ava and Nate spent a long time there, pretending to be pirates. Even though winter is approaching, it was still fairly warm and the kids played at the beach and in the waves to their hearts' content. We ate fish and chips and pizza. And I took some naps and read magazines I found in the house from 2010.
It was awesome.
I shouldn't have left that crotchety sounding post up at the top for so long! Thanks for all your sweet words. I promise, I'm not wallowing in misery. We are rolling right along pretty well. I'm almost halfway through my radiation--had #14 today. Yes, it's a drag some days, and I'm extra tired but it's really okay. Plus, Jason drives me most days so we have lots of time to chat. Or not! Depending on my mood!
Yesterday, we took the kids to the shops with Jason's mom. On the way home, Nate ominously announced he "knew all about the rude finger."
I was like, whosa whatsa? And then he solemnly extended his middle finger for me to see. Such ceremony involved.
You guys. Maybe you had to be there...it was so funny. "What makes this finger so rude?" he asked. Then he and Ava started laughing and pointing their middle fingers at each other and saying, "Watch out! I'm being rude to you!"
And then I was like, okay I better shut this down. "You guys, that is more than just rude. If you do that to someone, it's like calling them a bad name. It's offensive, it's like a bad swear word but with your hands. Don't do that anymore."
Except I think I accidentally made it sound cooler, especially to Nate. I'm sure now he's thinking, "Hmmm, how can I leverage this knowledge?" Lord, help us.
I confess I do the rude finger from time to time. Deplorable! But mostly to
Jason, and mostly when he's being annoying and deserves it. Like when he beat me at a card game and made the face when he won. Or when points out when I'm being too dramatic. As if! That kind of behavior cannot go unanswered. So I don't think the rude finger counts in those scenarios?
Maybe I can work it into my next sermon.
Sunday, May 13, 2012
That's how it is. You know, don't you?
P.S. Happy Mother's Day, mamas. Boots for all!
P.P.S. Sorry about the PMS TMI.
Monday, May 7, 2012
In a beautifully choreographed grandparent changeover, I dropped mom and dad off at the airport about 2 weeks ago and picked Jason's parents up. So, as far as our kids are concerned cancer treatment means: lots of treats, all grandparents arriving from America, extra TV time, and people dropping off cookies at the house. It's good to be them.
So Mike and Jan happily watch Grace each morning and Jase takes me to my treatment. I could drive myself, but the parking can be a major headache at this hospital, so it's nice to have him just drop me off at the entrance.
Today was only my 4th treatment, but I felt super tired and sluggish for a good portion of the day. Fatigue is the primary side effect of radiation treatment. Well, that and the superpowers. So Grace and I sat on the couch and snuggled for a bit after her nap. That was lovely, except I was forced to watch the most irritating kids' show ever, Caillou. I hate it with the burning heat of a thousand suns. (Speaking of radiation.)
Do you know this show? I'm posting from my phone, otherwise I'd link to it. Basically it's about the whiniest, most irritating 4 year old on the planet. He fusses when his friend accidentally bumps him, he complains about his little sister, he whines about going camping, he's afraid of clowns. This kid is incapable of just enjoying life as it is. And I am like, MAN UP, CAILLOU! No, your grandpa is NOT gonna eat your veggies for you. Just deal!
I even suggested that we watch Dora instead, so you know I was desperate. But Grace prevailed, as usual. I'm pretty sure she already has superpowers.
I'm not sure if this malaise is due to treatment, or just the fact that it's Monday! Mondays are usually tired days for me. But other than that, we are trucking right along! Just getting used to a new routine for the next 6 weeks or so.
I'll fill you in on treatment more later. Let's just say, lots more people are gettin to see my boobs.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
The courts are in a park that's set back in the bush. I mean, you turn off the main road and drive through this darkened neighborhood, and just when you're thinking a haunted house must be around here somewhere...you see the turnoff for the park.
And come to find out, everyone was there. If you've been wondering where all the people have gotten to on Friday nights? Apparently they're at netball. Because, back in the wilderness, there were hundreds of cars parked and kids running to play tennis and netball and lacrosse. And parents and reluctant siblings and coaches.
There are about 15 courts, and because they're just sorta plopped into the forest, everyone stands around court side to watch their team, or sits on big rocks off to the side.
Ava had a blast. It helped that her team won! It was fun watching her get the hang of the game. Each player has a player on the opposing team that they're supposed to cover, or mark. (Sorry, I'm still figuring this out.) Anyway, the other team had identical triplets. So half of the team looked the same! Clearly a tactical advantage! "It was a bit confusing," Ava told me later.
This will be our Friday night for the next several months. It was fun! Jason has been waiting for our kids to play sports since before we even had kids. He stood on the sidelines, shouting little "tips" to Ava. Keep in mind, this is the first netball game either of us have ever watched.
I sidled up next to him. "Babe? Let's observe the culture. Do you see other parents coaching their kids, over the voice of their actual coach?" He grinned. "I know, I know. I'm just excited. I'm American--it's what we do." "I know you are!" I said, "But let's tamp it down a bit, so people will still like us."
With everything we've had going on over the last few months, it was really nice just to be there and feel normal. Which we are, of course. But you know what I mean, right? It was chilly out there, and I thought to myself...how grateful I am that I get to keep my hair. A windy winter night out there with no hair wouldn't be so nice.
The things you think of sometimes.
Then, the game was over, and won, and it was time for ice cream! Jason's parents are here, and we all trooped back to the car. And in one of those rubber-meets-the-road parenting moments, we had to remind Grace that she couldn't have any, because she refused to eat even three (3!) bites of dinner. (Mom, we gave her 50 million chances, I swear. Don't hate--appreciate!)
So she had a level 2 meltdown (tough, but it's no level 3) and Jason dropped her and me at home to go to bed while they went on. After all, who wants to watch others eat I've cream when you don't get any?
Are we so mean? Don't worry...I confess to you now that I gave her a lollipop before 8am the other day.
Um, I'm American? It's what we do? I really have no idea. The things we do sometimes.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Australia is known for its massive bull ants, and this cheeky interpretation caused me to pull over, do a U-turn, and go back so we could get a photo.
In my last post, I mentioned that I had some good news to share with y'all. Well, my sister scooped me and blogged about it first. But that's okay, as she's blogging everyday this month, and we all know how challenging it can be to come up with interesting content. And it's like I always say. If my cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can provide content for just one blog post, then it's all been worth it. That's what it's all about, after all. Did you know I always say that? Just kidding, Beck! Actually, please read Becky's post if you will...her description of all this is better than mine.
Two months ago, when we had our first post-op meeting with my surgeon, the one where we talked about chemo, he also mentioned the possibility of being screened to see if there was a genetic element involved in my cancer. Here's a super-quick, most likely flawed summation: there are two gene mutations that have been identified as having a major role in breast and ovarian cancers. Those mutations can occur in either the BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes. Researchers think that these genes are meant to serve some protective purpose against cancer. (I'm not sure I'm saying that correctly, but that's the gist.) Sometimes you might hear someone say they're getting screened to see if they "have the gene for breast cancer". What they mean is, they're being screened to see if they have the mutation in that gene that correlates with breast cancer. Most breast cancers (about 95%) are not related to BRCA1 or BRCA2. But if you have one of those gene mutations, it has serious implications for your likelihood of developing cancer.
Due to both Becky and me having breast cancer before the age of 40, my doctor passed my name on to the Familial Cancer Centre at a nearby major hospital. A week later, one of their genetic counsellors called me and took a family history, asking about cancers in our family, about aunts and uncles and siblings and grandparents. Based on the information I gave her over the phone, she asked if I could come in and meet with them face-to-face. Which Jason and I did the following week.
We talked at length with a genetic counsellor who walked us through cell reproduction, how cells with these mutations reproduce the same faults, again and again until it becomes likely that a tumor can develop. We looked over a family tree they'd drawn up, based on the information I'd given over the phone. We talked about statistics of cancer and cancer reoccurrence if the BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutations are present. She told me that, in their estimation, there was a "fair chance" that I could have the mutation. Did I want to be tested?, she asked. Not everyone wants to know. Yes, I said. I definitely wanted to know. As much as you can "know", anyway.
At this point, they are careful to manage your expectations of what this test means. There is no "negative", there is only "inconclusive". Inconclusive means that they could find no mutation in those two genes, but there could be something elsewhere that's contributing. The human genome is pretty big, after all. If the test is positive for the mutation, I could choose to be closely monitored and checked each year to try and catch any new developments in their earliest stages. Mammograms, breast MRIs and such. Or, I could opt to immediately have a bi-lateral mastectomy, removing all breast tissue. This is called "risk-reducing surgery". And eventually, I would need to look at having my ovaries removed as well. The counsellor asked me, if the test is positive, would surgery be something I'd consider? I think they just want to make sure that it doesn't come out of left field for people. I told her that surgery would certainly be on the table if it came to that.
Then, she called the lab to see if they could rush the results for me. You see, this initial testing usually takes 3-4 months to complete. The lab said they could do it in 3-4 weeks. Then I went to have some blood drawn and we went home. That was that. Well, except for the few weeks of wondering and waiting. Actually, it wasn't too terrible, the waiting. I was also waiting at that time for the Oncotype Dx test results--the one which predicted a recurrence score for this current cancer--and I was preoccupied with that. Actually, ha! Now that I see that written...okay, I was probably a bit stressed.
Last week, Mom and I took the kids to the park. I was backing the car into a parking spot when my phone buzzed with an incoming call. I recognized that it was the hospital, and answered it as I turned the car off. The counselor I'd spoken with a month ago was on the phone. My test results were in, she said. Could I come in first thing tomorrow morning to discuss the results?
And here is where, for the first time that month, that I got nervous about the genetic stuff. I'd known they wouldn't give me the results over the phone either way, but the fact that they were squeezing me in so quickly gave me pause. Pulling the kids' scooters and helmets out of the back of the car, I scheduled the appointment.
Well, you already know it was good news. Jason and I got there the next morning, and our counsellor walked us back to meet with the geneticist, who'd been away during our first appointment. I had one final flutter when the counsellor said, "I wanted you to meet with the doctor, because I know you'll have a lot of questions." "Holy crap," I thought, "That means positive." But then she said, "I think you'll be pleased with the results." The test was inconclusive, meaning that no mutations were found on BRAC1 or BRAC2. Simply put, that means that I go on with treatment as planned, that I don't immediately need to consider surgery, and that I don't need to start thinking about what this means for Ava and Grace, for Becky and Laura, and for my mom.
The doctor did encourage me to stay in touch with them--to let them know of any changes in our family history, and to come see them in 10 years or so, when my girls are older. She said that when there are advances in either research or technique they often re-test samples, and that they would contact me if they ever found anything. She was encouraging, but also very clear: they know only so much about how genetics plays into cancer. There could be a BRCA3 that they haven't found yet.
But I'm not worried. Truly, I'm not. That doesn't mean that I'm convinced there's no chance of a genetic component at play. It's more that I feel...what else can we do? We've done all we know to do, and now I just need to have my treatment and get on with things. The way I see it, it was completely providential that this cancer was found when it was--another year easily could've gone by. And I feel like I will know things when I need to know them. Is that an over-simplification? Definitely. But it is working for me. I'm in good hands.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Little did we know that things would get pushed back a bit, due to me deciding to have some extra testing done.(I'm posting from my phone, so I don't know how to link to it, but you can scroll down 3-4 posts to see what I mean, if you want.) Not needing chemo was a very lucky break that I hadn't dared to hope for, but waiting for that determination pushed radiation treatment back.
I went last week to get setup for radiotherapy--got two little tattoos like the gangsta I am in my heart of hearts--and am due to start daily radiation treatments on May 1st. About a week after they leave. Sad face.
The southern girl/middle child in me is fighting the impulse to apologize that they came all this way to help for a 7 week stay and then I haven't even begun treatment yet. I know, I am ridiculous. I have never claimed otherwise.
The reality is, though, as I was telling Mom today, they were here for a lot of angst and anxious time for me. Which is truly what I've needed most, I think. The decisions about genetic testing, and the test to determine if I needed chemo, all the processing after multiple doctor's appointments, the what-ifs that inevitably come up during this process.
So even though I've felt great physically, of course it's been an emotionally draining time. (Hello, obvious statement of the year! Did ya know, breast cancer diagnosis is stressful?? I'm here to provide you with this helpful info!) So, it's been invaluable to have them here--not just for me, but for all of us. Because let's be honest, the amount of peanut butter and jellies that Grace requires in one day alone is enough to drive me to drink. Sometimes, you just need another pair of hands to spread the Skippy. That phrase should go on a T-shirt.
We've had a great time with them here, we've gotten out and about a lot, we've played lots of Dominion, we've barbecued, we've just hung out. It has made all these doctor's appointments so much easier to arrange, not having to scramble to figure out childcare.
Now that mom and dad are retired, they might be interested in supplementing their income. So, if you have a need for grandparents to stand by in a medical or family crisis, let me know. Their rates are reasonable, and might I add? They are professional educators, so your kids will be well tended. However, they require a healthy supply of Wild Turkey and Diet Coke. But not together. What are you, a heathen?
So, thanks Mom and Dad! I think of you as my own parents, and I wanted you to know.
More from me soon! I should also add, Jason's parents are coming soon, so the outpouring of grandparent love will continue! Oh! And we got some good news yesterday, I'll be back tomorrow to fill you in. Not trying to bait you, just tired tired and must sleep, must sleep NOW. Xoxo
Saturday, April 7, 2012
I love you all like I love guacamole. More, even! And candy corn. But not together, cause, gross.
Not you, gross. Guacamole and candy corn, gross. I'm ruining the moment we were trying to have, aren't I? Trying again...
Happy Easter! May God bless you more than you thought He would.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Ava: Who knows? Maybe one day I'll be rich and buy a limousine.
Me: Maybe so. But if I was rich, there's a lot of other things I'd rather have than a limousine!
Ava: Oh, you guys won't be rich! Your chance has passed.
Me: Wait! Our chance passed already?
Jason: Really? So we're just done, huh?
Ava and Nate: (laughing, totally delighted with themselves)
Nate: And you'll probably never be famous, either.
Me: Why do you say that?
Nate: You'll never be famous cause you work for a church. Nobody who's famous does THAT.
Me: Ooookay. Well, at least now Dad and I know what to expect from life! Thanks, guys.
Ava: Yeah, *totally* passed.
And yet, I think we might still have some life left in these old bones.
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Oh, hi. Was I saying something?
So yeah, my parents are here! Yay!! When they originally booked their tickets to come out at the beginning of March, we were trying to time it with when I'd be starting treatment. But due to some things I'll tell y'all about in a sec, that hasn't started yet. So we've just been hanging out and doing touristy stuff instead. And it's been great!
Last week, we spent a few days in Jamberoo Valley. It was gorgeous and easy and fun.
I mean, c'mon. Am I right? That is so beautiful it makes me want to punch someone. You probably know I have that tendency. Anyway, on the drive back to Sydney, I realized with a start that I'd gone almost 48 hours without thinking about breast cancer or treatment or test results. That hadn't happened since the day I got diagnosed. That was nice! It helps that I'm pretty much all better from the lumpectomy. I have full range of motion back and almost no pain or tenderness at all. So it's easier to go through the day and not think of it when you're not sore. I mean...don't punch me in the boob when you see me or anything, but I'm almost all better.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
But I did it to show y'all something. I'd just gotten back into the car at the hospital the other day and put my glasses on so I could see to drive. And I laughed at my reflection in the mirror, and decided I needed to share.
About 6 weeks ago, I was stretching at the gym, on one of the floor mats. I'd set my glasses down next to my water bottle. As I was standing back up, yes, I stepped on them. Bending them so badly that I can't get them to sit straight on my face anymore.
I usually wear my glasses when I need to see mid-to-long distances. Driving, of course, but also shopping or when I'm speaking or singing at church. Since they've been wonky though, I only wear them in the car when it's too cloudy or dark to wear my prescription sunglasses. It's just too embarrassing to wear them elsewhere.
So now, the world is a bit like a Monet painting to me. All the faces at church are kind of impressionistic, slightly blurred. The rows of food at the store pleasantly smear together. I'm kind of getting used to it.
I could easily go get new glasses. I don't really know why I haven't. Except that part of me feels like I'm using up my quota of doctors' visits right now. Like, there's only so many appointments I can schedule and times I can reasonably ask others to watch Grace, and I'm reaching the upper limits. Going to get new glasses just seems excessive. Or something.
Does anyone else do this? Truthfully though, my glasses have always been a bit crooked cause honestly, I think my ears aren't even on the sides of my head. No really! Don't laugh! It's the only explanation I can come up with.
We can't all be symmetrical! This apparently applies now to boobs, ears, and eyeglasses.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The blog has been a bit quiet this week, cause Mom and Dad arrived this past Monday! Yay! So we've been getting out and about this week. The kids are loving it, and so am I. They're like family to me, you know?
This past Friday was our day to meet with the radiation oncologist and the medical oncologist. It was a information-overload type of day, but a really good one nonetheless. I mean, "good" in the sense that we really liked both doctors, they each spent a lot of time with us, and answered a lot of questions. Not "good" in the sense that someone waved a magic wand and I don't have cancer anymore. As I've said before, good and bad take on new meanings!
I'll talk more about all that soon. Just wanted to check in! We had those appointments yesterday, came home and debriefed with my parents and sister via webcam, then I packed for a girls' night away. My book club had planned this months ago, and I didn't want to miss out just cause of stupid, dumbhead cancer.
So I was up till 3am last night chatting, except we never seemed to really talk about the book. It was fun, but an absolute marathon of a day. I think I need some sleep now.
I hope you're well. Have a beautiful weekend!
Thursday, March 1, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
But not before plenty of other folks come checking out the loot! In years past we've kind of made a date of it; cruising around, looking at our neighbors' cast-offs. Because we are ALL CLASS. This year though, we weren't looking for anything and didn't have any real interest in it. My heart just wasn't in it. But the Monday after my surgery, we took Grace on a quick trip to the park and spotted this desk on the way home.
I'd been tired by even that little outing, but spying it on the curbside, I perked right up! Life and spirit surged to the surface! My pulse quickened! My blood flowed with new energy and vigor! What wondrous place is this, with such free furniture in it!? It was time to carpe desk, er, diém!
It was just a few houses down from ours, and Jason hopped out to have a look. Perfect condition, the desktops opened and closed, and as they did I heard them cry softly, "Mama!"
"I'll drop you guys off and then come back," Jase said. "No! You have to get it now!! Before it gets away!" And because you don't argue with a convalescing bargain-hunter, he did.
And now, Ava and Nate sit there each afternoon and do their homework. Cutest thing. As I told Becky, free furniture really IS the best medicine.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
So, secure in the knowledge that my sentinel node was mapped, I went back into the waiting room of the nuclear medicine department. A nurse mentioned that my surgery had been moved forward, and that instead of the 2+ hours that we thought we had left to wait, someone was coming now to collect my charts and take us up to pre-op. Oh! Oh.