Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I'm a regular dynamo
I love the gift of perspective. Less than a week out of chemo(!), today I managed to:

1. Get to a lab at 6:30am and out by 7:15 despite there being 15 people in front of me, the computer freezing up multiple times, AND by the way, this lab was now out-of-network for my COBRA...did I mind paying a bit more. Really, I didn't, as the excellent tech got my blood in ONE stick. If you know me and my veins saga, this is officially a praise report.

2. Get in and out of the DMV in TWENTY minutes despite LONG lines. Praise God for online appointments/registrations and telecommuting husbands. I now have a (kerchiefed--Florida doesn't require one list hair color, LOL) but official license. This is vital, at least according to my children, for library cards and Sea World resident passes (something Christmas monies have been carefully horded for).

3. Finish all school and have dinner in the crock-pot before 1pm.

4. Lie down for 30 minutes!

5. Get the all-vital library cards, managing to locate the library without a map (a major accomplishment for the directionally-impaired).

6. Locate Super-Wal Mart with the children to pick up a few needed things. Celebrated/bribed them with slushes at the Sonic located inside...they thought that was cool.

7. Wrote a letter and some emails to friends back "west".

I feel so accomplished and grateful.

Of course, I feel tired too. Time to get dinner on the table.

Hope your day was "productive", too!

  posted at 5:23 PM  

Sunday, January 28, 2007
More Slacking
This is the picture I wanted to show at Christmas of our best friends and us totally overspilling the less-than adequate pew space during services! We MISS you guys.
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  posted at 7:45 PM  

As if I needed evidence that my heart was fickle...
...I am SO glad to be home. I had to miss church today (low cell precautions, no one wants to visit a church for the first time masked and unallowed to shake hands with people!) but Dave and the kids visited a lovely place recommended by our painter. DD1 has requested that she be allowed to try out their Wednesday night youth program.

I was able to make dinner and clean the kitchen; even got a few boxes unpacked and did some driving around to check out the area (safely from my car windows--grin). It's been a full day for three days post-chemo and I'm TIRED.

I'm also deliberately avoiding the last part of lesson planning for next week--always my least favorite part of homeschooling. It's times like these when something totally scheduled and pre-packaged really looks appealing--it's not really, but today it looks almost as good as that whole Sears appliance sale (no interest for one year, free delivery--just say NO, Heather!).

And I was just telling Laurie TODAY that she could gobsmack me if I whined about doing my job, because that's all I really wanted to do. Good thing she's gracious.

Good thing He is gracious every time I fall short--and I do so often.

Thank you Lord for being HOME today, lesson plans wanting and all.

  posted at 7:34 PM  

Thursday, January 25, 2007
Thursday Thirteen
Thirteen things that I'm thankful for right now.

1. My hubby came and visited me in the hospital last night. It was actually nice to hear his snore!

2. My kids are coming up for a few minutes with their aunt and cousin (brave woman).

3. I'm officially on my last bag of chemo for this round. Between six and seven tonight, we'll switch to stratight hydration and MESNA (a bladder protecting drug).

4. My sister is hanging with me right now...andn will be spending the night to save me from the stir-crazies and bad, bad, hospital food.

5. If all goes well, I'll be out of here tomorrow morning after the MESNSA runs out!

6. Nausea has been minimal this time.

7. Brain fog has been minimal this time.

8. My kids are doing well in Sarasota with their grandparents--and hopefully are transitioning to their Aunt's well.

9. I loved seeing my kids...and my sweet baby A newphew jammed to the tunes of a visiting muisician on his double bass.

10. Tomorrow night, I'll be with my family!

11. Saturday night, I'll be home!

12. At that point, we'll be halfway through chemo.

13. Did I mention that I get to go home tomorrow?

  posted at 3:06 PM  

Wednesday, January 24, 2007
The oddest thing about being in a cancer center is that questions that would be considered "rude" on the "outside" are simply seen as normal here. I've joked on more than one occasion that every member of the Moffitt staff knows exactly how old I am, simply because I'm aked my date of birth every time an appointment is made, a procedure is performed, or a new medicine is hung or administered.

It's also not unusual for another patient to bluntly ask "what do YOU have?". Although synovial sarcoma of an internal organ is often hard to explain, I rarely mind. People want to share here, and any comfort I can provide through listening and sharing of my experiences is a welcome change from the constant self-focus of being "stuck" in the hospital.

Being in a life-threatening situation seems to strip people of social barriers. People say "I love you" more and they say the things that need to be said. You find out which friends and family are really "there" and who simply would say that they're there for you.

Maybe we all need a little cancer in our lives. Or maybe we just need to stop waiting for the crisis to come, to stop worrying about being rude and start wondering what another person's story is and how much they need to tell it.

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  posted at 2:55 PM  

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
A long overdue update
I'm on day 2 1/2 of chemo here at Moffit and trying out a new regimen. While it's still chemo, with the requsite nausea, fluid retention, etc, they're trying some new drugs and pushing the infamous blue antitoxin early, so while I'm farily wiped out, so far so good on the more or less being able to think. I am beginning to feel like a human chemistry experiment, however...

We had a whopping 72 hours in the new house before I had to return to the hospital and get the kiddos off to their grandparents. The new paint helps the house a ton and the kids seem excited about getting into a space of our own. We managed to unpack the kitchen (thank you, Sarah), the kids bedrooms, all of the bathrooms, and our closets before it was time to leave. It remains to dh to do the living room media center (ugh), the desk boxes (double ugh), and the schoolroom (triple ugh)--truly an act of love on his part while the rest of us are out of town.

The new neigborhood is friendly--all of the kids have already met someone to play with, and we even had a neigbor bring over brownies and information about the area for us! In Phoenix, it took MONTHS to get to know our neighbors and there were almost no children in the neigborhood, so this was a huge blessing for us.

I get released on Friday morning (all things going well) and dh will hopefully take us all back to our "nest" on Saturday. I know we're all looking forward to settling in some more and getting to know the new area.

On and urelated aned very cool topic, my sister-in-law is treating me to a blog redesign. I'm so excited about it. Stay tuned for the new look...and a big thank you to Susan!

  posted at 3:03 PM  

Sunday, January 07, 2007
Back to the land of the living.
To say the second round of chemo was fun or smooth would be a lie. Praise God, I didn't end up in the ICU with neutropenia (LOW white blood cells--that happened round one in California), but I did end up having to cut my course short due to neurotoxcicity. Evidently my brain threw a great party (hallucinatinons about putting Christmas presents away--a control freak even from my hospital bed!, a seizure-like episode that resulted in a fall and knee injury, and six doses of a really nasty anti-toxin that turns the majority of one's body fluids blue--if you're young enough, insert the theme to the "Smurfs" here). The mercy to me is that I don't remember any of it. My poor mom, on the other hand, thank God she was bedsitting me that night and that the doctor "just happened" to walk in during my party--he was able to witness my behavior and get help that much faster. I also had the usual fun of nausea, exhaustion, chemo brain and extreme blurred vision that prevents doing much of all except lying in bed (not one of my favorite pastimes).

Despite all this, I still can't say enough about Moffitt. What a place of compassion and professional excellence. I'm ready to take my clinical pharmacist home with me. My care was exceptional.

Enough about the cancer. My kids and husband made it to Florida and we are enjoying time together before dh starts his new job on Monday. I'm praying his eyes continue to light up when he speaks of a new work environment, even with all of the challenges ahead.

We were sneaking in an early morning pillow talk this morning. While we see God's hands EVERYWHERE in all of what we are going through--getting into specialists in record time, being able to bless friends with much needed furniture, selling a car to friends on the DAY their second car gives up the ghost--the move and treatment has been full of trials as well. I even got a beautiful note and gift from a cousin I haven't seen in ten years that moved me to tears.

However, an expected layoff (with thirteen weeks of severance pay) didn't come through with the other company, and my husband resignation also cancelled out a bonus that he had been working on for the better part of three years. We haven't had a nibble on our house in Arizona, and despite leaving our house in amazing condition; we're moving into a house that needs significant TLC. Oh, did I mention that my husband's driver's license was misplaced in the flight from Phoenix to Tampa? Praise God he has a passport.

Part of me wants a BIG miracle. The call from the doctors saying they made a mistake and that I really don't have to drag myself and my family through four more rounds of chemotherapy. The financial windfall that will make the down payment on the van we could use so much, or the TV that died on the moving truck before it even got loaded, the washer and dryer upgrade, a nicer refrigerator for my lovely new (and soon to be painted!) kitchen. I want the realtor to call TODAY with the offer on the house in Phoenix that will relieve my husband of the burden of paying two mortgages right now. For my hair to miraculously grow back overnight, for me not to have to sport my "Michael Jackson" protective mask at Target and put up with looks from deeply sympathetic to avoidingly horrified.

Then it hits me. Well, not so much hits me, but the still, small voice whispers, "My grace is sufficent for you". And when it all comes down (and it has), the miracle is Christ in me. It's eternal life. It's not having to do all of this bitter and terrified. Its knowing that me, and most of the people in my life have the choice to never be the same again through all of this. It's my friends making comments about character traits that I certainly can't see in myself (extending grace to others, Laurie?) but I know only God can be sanctifying me through.

What's next, you may ask? If you're still reading the book, it's a round of test appointments Tuesday, a new port placement (the double, cadillac-model) the following Tuesday, hopefully the boxes and furniture arrive on the 18th. Chemo starts again most likely on the 20th, and we're praying for some new brilliant protocol to try that wont' make things quite so hairy. Pray for wisdom for my sweet doctor--there's just not much research into the whole soft-cell sarcoma of an internal organ thing for anyone to work with. I am research :-).

The adventure continues. Today I choose to embrace my miracle. How about you?

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  posted at 10:45 AM  

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