1. As the croupy one and I wandered the aisles of CVS Friday night, the pharmacy clerk glanced at our names in the computer, looked at me, did a double take, and exclaimed, "Mrs. N, you're BETTER!!". I had to laugh that she remembered me...and that she had a hard time recognizing me with hair. It's definitely progress...
2.I was "blessed" with insomnia last night...but got to talk with my best friend on the phone. Sometimes the time difference actually works in our favor!
3.Having to stay home with the "crouplet" means that I'm starting Monday with a clean house, caught up laundry, AND the costumes for Wednesday are hemmed, cleaned and pressed.
4. I realized, for the first time since we moved here, that I was truly unhappy about having to miss church. This is a good thing...we may have found a church home!
5. My tween queen had her Dad stop at Starbucks on the way home from church. She used a birthday gift card to treat me to my favorite (a "no/no/no" pumpkin latte! That would be nonfat,decaf, no whip). In her words, I deserved it because I "was stuck home with the croupy poop"! That's my baby!
6. The Princess is on her way home as I type. She had a wonderful weekend with her Grandparents, Aunt and cousins. We're really getting excited about the blessing of having us all gathered together for thanksgiving for the first time in thirteen years.
7. We sent out emails for the relay. My dh encouraged me to really bump up my goal for fundraising and has offered to do some canvassing. My friends and family have NOT disappointed me. You are all amazing blessings and I'm thankful for not only the donations but the prayers and the "ground support" that my in-laws will be that weekend.
Yep, we hit the Urgent Care, picked up a double ear infection and a side of croup, then joined the party at the all night CVS for steroids, antibiotics, and a vaporizer (ours appears to have, well...vaporized in the move).
One of us is feeling better today...and one of us needs a nap--and to never, never, NEVER have to listen to "Goo's Cues" Shape Searchers episode.
Who knew you could find such cool stuff on the Internet?? The Tween Queen used the day off to exercise her creative muscles, and this is the result. Only the coolest big sister would spend over an hour creating a "Bob Builder" o'lantern for her baby bro. He loves it of course.
We did break down and "cheat" this year. After years of rapidly rotting pumpkins (and they mold here...ick!), I hit the JoAnn Moonlight madness for 60% off "Funkins". Some foam dust to vacuum up, but no ick factor, and NO rotting orange sludge as payback for all of her hard work.
I DO miss the pumpkin patch experience...I guess I'll have to live vicariously this year and let the Princess enjoy that one for us.
All flipness aside, as much as I miss my extended "village" in Arizona (and I miss it pretty much all the time, every day), the biggest blessing of this messy, messy, move has been to put us back in reasonable proximity to our family. (Honestly, I'd have been okay if we had landed even closer).
Unfortunately, I have very few memories of my grandparents taking interest in spending time with or "spoiling" me....and as the oldest of fourteen grandchildren, I probably got the most "attention" from them. My aunts and uncles were extremely young parents and/or too young and caught up in their own lives to be able to contribute much to helping my mom out.
Happily, my children's situation is quite the opposite. My sisters, despite their young ages when my oldest was born), have always been doting aunties. My children are blessed with not two, but three sets of involved grandparents (despite seasons of living far away) and a few sets of surrogate grands as well. AND we still have our awesome "extended" family in Arizona and North Carolina.
What a blessing for a child to be surrounded by so much love. What a blessing for us as parents to know that so many someones have our back!
Still, a note to Mom and Dad and Susan...we do have to live with her next week, so don't have too good of a time!
I was her only patient today...and we must have just talked for close to half an hour. We decided that I stay on at Moffitt with a regular medical oncologist (versus transferring to an Orlando oncologist) and outlined my five year plan. The order was written to schedule my port removal (hooray).
We talked about what could be done to improve the emotional well being of Moffitt inpatients. We talked about her dreams of curing sarcoma one day (did you know it is the least funded of ALL types of cancer?). She gave me her cell phone number and her personal email and said I was welcome in Atlanta whenever I needed to see her...which she hoped was never.
I hope it's never, too...unless it's at a survivors event honoring her. I hugged her goodbye and thanked her for the times she talked me down from wanting to quit chemo and from checking out of the hospital AMA during my zero white cell crises.
Dr. D had always been a good doctor to me. Today she was my friend.
I'm going to miss her.
So far today:
--the toddler stumbled downstairs covered in vomit. (His reflux flares badly during growth spurts).
--his brother claimed that his room was "all clear".
--I walked upstairs to double check. It was NOT all clear.
--I dragged the crabby toddler to the farmer's market.
--I came home and discovered while the children had accessed the computer and their library books, they hadn't accessed their common sense. NONE of the breakfast food or dishes had been cleared up and their rooms were a disaster.
--My daughter had left her fundraising form (due yesterday) on the kitchen table. Did I mention that she had left it in Kissimmee last night, prompting her father to make an extra drive out and retrieve it for her?
--I dragged the crabby toddler to the middle school to drop off the form.
--I cleaned the gross kitchen and grosser floors.
--I picked up after the family. And picked up.
--I picked up some more.
Sounds glamorous, doesn't it?
Then I sat down to open my email.
Wow...I had no clue some of you even knew where I was these days (Tally, I'm talking to you, girlfriend!!).
Wow...I'm an honored friend...a best friend.
That's a pretty darn glamorous job.
Thank you all.
Hmmm...NASCAR isn't my thing, but I somehow doubt it's contagious!
My sister called me the other day bubbling over about a family wedding she attended in Ohio this weekend. Originally, I had wanted to make this wedding with my family, but a few things kept us from going:
1. It was the day after my daughter's birthday, and I wanted her to be able to celebrate with friends.
2.It was one of our more soccer-intensive weekends (ha! They're actually all soccer intensive, but competitive teams mean higher levels of commitment).
3. I crunched the numbers. Plane fare for 6 to Cincinnati, rental car, hotel for a few days (no one offered to put all of us up, wonder why??), food, fall dress clothes for the wedding....we were looking at well over $3000 for a long weekend. That is just NOT happening with our finances right now, especially with the Phoenix real estate market still being so awful (read: we have multiple mortgages right now).
Anyway, the gist of the wedding wrap up had to do with how many people asked about me, how "everyone" just "wanted to see me and know I was okay", how "everyone wanted to hug my neck", and how I should probably get on the stick and write a Thanksgiving or very early Christmas letter to let "everyone" know I was still alive and kicking.
All I could think was, I am SO glad that I didn't go to this wedding.
1. I am the oldest of 14 cousins. Of said cousins (plus aunts and uncles), ONE cousin wrote me a note during my treatment, and one cousin's wife consistently sent letters/cards of encouragement. One aunt and uncle chose to acknowledge what was going on and help us. Honestly, "thinking about" someone going through something so massive really doesn't cut it.
2. This day was about the BRIDE, not about Heather. I can do without that kind of attention, as I'm barely getting beyond my own healthy dose of denial and processing what has happened to me in the past year and how close I came to dying on several occasions.
3. Every day past the end of chemo I realize something that has returned--I can sing again (I was too weak for my voice to carry before), my real laugh and smile is back, I ran the other day. Now is my season to celebrate, not rehash, so I'm pretty darn picky about who I talk about my cancer with these days. If you weren't "there" going through it with me, it's probably not you right now, sorry.
So my point (and I do have one) is this. No one ever felt better at a funeral because they spent time "thinking about" or (sorry Brothers and Sisters in Christ) "praying for" someone.
Actions speak. Not words.
It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month (It should just be Cancer Awareness Month, but that's another rant for another day).
Is someone you care about going through something? Don't wait to be invited...look for the opening and take it.
Make the call.
Visit the hospital.
Deliver the meal.
Write the card, note or email.
Honor them with a donation--The Komen Races are this month and Race for the Cure is coming up as well. (You can support me on my one-year anniversary of diagnosis here).
Finally, a thousand thank yous to those of you who did chose to be there. You know who you are, and you are precious to me.
"Where are you at?"
"Who's soccer game?"
"Oh, J___'s, soccer game".
"NANa!!" (the Princess, who was NOT playing soccer).
"Look, mom, no more glasses!"
When all of the girls showed up, our son announced, "I'm retreating!". Later, when his good friend from school and the neigbor kids dropped by, he decided that there was enough testosterone present for him to enjoy the party.
Our neigbors even got into the act. We plyed them with cake, pizza, and rock climbing to fend off any noise complaints-- eighth grade girls are NOISY.
The birthday girl on the rock wall.
Grandpa gave it a try, too.
Who knew the Princess was part monkey?? She climbed and climbed...most of the time, she was barefoot.
1. May your always be quick to listen and slow to speak, ever attuned to that still small voice that is the leading of the Lord.
2.May you always measure your life and conduct solely against the standard of God's word.
3.May you measure your worth not based on the opinions of friends, or even of Mom and Dad, but on who you truly are...a treasured possession of God, purchased at enormous cost.
4.May you let your light so shine before all so that they may see the good that you do and give glory to God.
5.May you see failure as a learning opportunity---not stumbling blocks, but pauses to reflect and change.
6.May you have the courage to seize each opportunity presented to you fully.
7.May you live life LOUD. Very few things are worth doing half-way.
8.May you grow closer every day in your relationship to your brothers and sister and cherish their friendships throughout your life.
9.May you grow every day in your relationship with Daddy and I...and trust us when we tell you how beautiful you are...because it's true.
10.May you always remember that your gifts and talents are from the Giver of every good and perfect gift, and steward them appropriately.
11.May you take great joy in giving and in serving others.
12.May you grow to know that peace comes from knowing the truth, not from your circumstances.
13.May you know how very, very much we love you.
"How weird is it that last year at this time my whole world was reduced to being able to pass gas (okay, I'm not sure that's the terminology I used, but this is a family blog!) so that I could get out of the hospital and go home?".
His response? "Well, that's bloggable!"
Last year we knew that a cancerous growth on my kidney had been removed. Silly us, we thought it was a stage I renal cancer. We thought the toughest thing we'd have to face as a family was an eight day hospital stay and the possibility of missing my daughter's eleventh birthday. Boy were we in for a shock a few weeks later...one that we still are experiencing repercussions from.
But we're here. By grace (and only by grace) we're standing. Scarred, and humbled, but still standing.
There's a surreal quality to the statement "I'm a cancer survivor". For me, it begs a few questions:
--When does one begin to "count" their survivorship? Am I a one year survivor becauseThe musing hit again in the shower this morning.
I haven't physically had a visible tumor in my body for a year now ; a six
month survivor because that was the last of the chemotherapy, or a five-month
survivor because that was when I finally began to recover physically after the
last white cell crisis?
--Cancer didn't really make me all that
sick, at least until my body decided to try and evict my kidney. The
treatment, on the other hand, almost killed me three times, made me lose my
hair, eyebrows, thirty pounds (okay, that wasn't so bad), most of the lining of
my mucous membranes, portions of my memory, my hard earned muscle tone and
endurance, and a huge chunk of my personal dignity. So...am I really
a cancer survivor, or a chemo survivor?
--Is it just me, or is it
really ironic that I was diagnosed with an "orphan" cancer (now that my
specialist has moved to Atlanta, it feels even more orphan) during the month of
the pink ribbon?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for awareness and I understand
that this affects many, many, people, but all cancers deserve awareness and
funding. Personally, I got tired of people assuming that I had breast
--Can anyone truly understand this unless they've lived it out?
Cancer makes for some strange and wonderful bedfellows. There isn't a day
that goes by that I don't pray for Helen (from my first round of chemo in LA),
although my heart tells me that she's with her Savior now; for my clinic buddy
the soccer dad and former World Series ring-sporting Minnesota Twin; for Julia
from the library who is fighting her second round of mets (and who I wonder
about if I don't see her there on Mondays); and for the many amazing individuals
I've "met" through their cancer blogs.
"Do you realize", I pointed out, "that between your short hair and me being bald last year, we're still using the same bottle of shampoo that I bought when we moved here in January, and that it's still a third full?"
That I can reflect on something so silly is good. So is being able to obsess over the color scheme for my daughter's birthday party (don't ask), or fuss over having to wipe mango off the dining room wall (don't ask), or feel my husband run his fingers through my hair.
It means that one year later, life has moved beyond basic bodily functions and back to living.
With a solid five year gap between child #3 and child #4 (#1 and #2 are close in age), I had blissfully forgotten the "terrible two's".
There's no forgetting these days at our house. Take one active two and a half year old, stir in a communication disorder and a highly stressful year, and, well, I'm not sure who says "No" more these days, him or me!
Keeping with what I'm sure some child "experts" would dub "asserting his independence" or "finding his place in the family", his latest ploy is refusal to participate in group activities. Yes, I'm the mom with the kid clinging to my leg at baby gym class or sitting in the corner during Toddler Time at the library (only to found singing the songs later, alone in his room). If I hear one more "they all go through that" from another sympathetic mom, I am going to scream. Funny, "all" of my other three children didn't go through this.
Sometimes, however, the little contrarian can surprise and bless me. We were at his favorite place (well, other than Grandma's house) today ("Yook, Mama! Kick-Le-LAY!") when I asked him to fold his hands.
"NO Mama! M..... pay!".
And so he did..."Dod, tank you, chicken, pay payground. Amen."
Which, I guess, means that the two's aren't always so terrible.