Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Another week into the history books.  Another list of Thankfuls.

Thankful for another year.  I might have had a birthday in the last week.  I bought a juicer and a used treadmill.  Hmm... these times they are a-changin'!  I am pretty sure those are things that old people or health nuts use.  I think I like my blender better than the juicer, though.  I like the whole fruit, not just the juice.  1/4 pear, banana, 2 handfuls of strawberries, 1 handful of blueberries, protein powder, small chunk of spinach, kefir and skim milk.  Mmm, it's what's for breakfast.  And I am working on the treadmill, but am fighting with my left arm swelling when I exercise, so short spurts.

Thankful for laughter.  There has been a lot of it the last few days, and it does a soul good.

Two wonderful ladies have taken me to rad this week, and we have made the rounds of topics - raising kids, taking care of parents and the role reversal, school, crazy crummy cancer, church plans, girly stuff - not much off limits - and all accompanied by lots of laughter.

Then there are these boys that I live with.  Colby saw a lemonade stand story on TV.  He then wanted to ask his aunt (who makes yummy fudge at Christmas) if she would make him 20 or 30 pounds of fudge so we could sell it like a garage sale and raise money for toys.  20 or 30 pounds of fudge, Child?  For toys?  For you?  Made by your aunt?  Hmm... you call and ask her that, cause I am not!  It took a while to tell her the story because I was in a fit of laughter when she answered the phone.  Evan brought a buddy home to help with homework, and they were just crazy silly, loud, obnoxious, and kept me in stitches over nothing worthwhile today.

And then there is this crazy PT that I was hoping to never see again, but am back hanging out with way too soon.  She was a little bit of sanity and laughter in helping me with range of motion in July.  Now it's working on lymphedema in my arm.  While one more complication of crazy crummy cancer really ticks me off, at least we are entertainment for each other while dealing with it.  There's plenty of laughter from the treatment room.

Thankful for food.  You know that food prep and "what's for dinner, Mom?" are not things that I excel at.  I tossed out on facebook a request for frozen crock pot meals that I can pull out as needed when I am gone all day.  I have several bags from coworkers and former coworkers.  Last night it was some delish bbq spare ribs, and I think tonight is mostaccioli.

Thankful for  6 out of the last 8 years as weekend-option prn.  It has kept me home more during the week with the kids.  Tom and I debated for most of the summer about what my job would look like in the big picture of life.  The last 2 work weekends it was not rocket science that 2 12-hour shifts are harder than they used to be, and won't get better for a while.  While I could have used 4 hours of fmla each shift, at some point I have to be realistic and look at what is fair to my employer and even bigger than that, what is fair to my patients.  It kinda feels like cancer won, but I know it needed to happen.  And, it means that I only have to work 1 weekend shift a month when all the dust settles, so that is a family win.  Tom has done a majority of the weekend parenting for Colby's entire life, and I am tired of missing all the fun stuff!

Have a good weekend, y'all.  We have some fun plans to look forward to.  Promise I will share pics next week.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thankful Thursday

God's blessings, remembered...

Leftover lasagna, tucked in the freezer.  I got a huge ginormous pan during chemo, and froze half of it.  Yummy dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow!

Beautiful days and cool nights.  The a/c finally got turned off yesterday, and it was a beautiful 50's night to sleep with the windows open and air the house out.  It was nice to sit outside this afternoon between rad & school pick-up.

A meaty book - "A Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp to keep me company waiting for radiation.  I love her writing style, but it does require thought.  It's not a fluffy book.  And, the piano melody on her website is hauntingly beautiful.

Friends fighting over who gets which radiation day to drive me.  I can go by myself, but it's so much more fun with a friend!  And I am tired, already.

School routines.  The boys are settling in.  They both like their teachers.  There is a pattern to life again, not random bedtimes and schedules.  The calendar is getting full, but pleasantly so.

CD's left on my doorstep.  The rad suite has a CD player for entertainment, and my goal is 30 different cd's for 30 days.  Despite what I have been told, I can feel the rad zaps - just tingly, but uncomfortably so.  I need all the distraction I can get!

Bonfires.  It's cool.  It's Scouts outside.  It was at someone else's house, so I enjoyed it and left it there.  I got a whiff of the fire smell just a few times today, and it was wonderful.

Got a minute to read and share some love?  Go love on Vicky - Westra's World - on the blogroll.  I stumbled onto her blog and fell in love with her writing and her heart long before I had cancer.  Say a prayer, for her and others who struggle a lot more than I do.  It's not a picnic in my world, but I know my world is still pretty easy in the land of cancer treatment.

Have a good week y'all.  8 pm seems like it's past my bedtime, after 4 alarm clock wake-ups this week.  Nine or so more and I can sleep in... only if I skip church again.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Radiation Day 1

So... wanna hear about my day?  You're here; you must.

I didn't line anybody up to go with me today.  If I had gone to church yesterday instead of sleeping in, somebody would have volunteered, but I opted to sleep after traveling Friday and Saturday.  I debated last night and this morning about asking if anyone wanted to go with me on Facebook, but I didn't.  I thought I wanted to do this on my own.  I really didn't.

And so, I dropped the kids off for an adventure with the 'rents, and I headed to the big city.  Somewhere along the interstate, my game face flew out the window.  Tears at 75 mph just isn't pretty, Folks.  And so I texted two of my prayer warriors while waiting at stop lights.  And they settled me back down a bit.  I was doing laps in the parking garage, and I found this.

Radiation itself  is really not that exciting - like a CT scan on steroids.  I am done in 30 minutes or so, except on Tuesday See the Doctor Day.

My radiation schedule works with the kids school schedule.  Daily til September 19.  It's early enough I might even get a nap before school gets out if I come straight home.  Can I tell you that I find that comforting and depressing at the same time - that I feel the need to build naptime into my days?

And the song on 99.1 JoyFM when I got in the car afterward?  This song.  "Praise You In The Storm," by Casting Crowns.

Ok, God, I get it.  You're in the big stuff, and the details too.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Thankful Thursday

It's a moment or two to reflect back on the week and be grateful, thankful, joyful for the God-given gifts in the journey of life.

Thankful that the funk from last week didn't stick around long.  There are just random days where the mood is crummy, and the acidity of my mood doesn't match anything going on in real life.  Cancer comes with depression, sometimes situational, sometimes much longer lasting.  Last Thursday was a long rad onc day, and "stupid cancer" tears were just simmering at the surface, and blinked back (or not) more than once.  Friday, and the rest of this week, has been the "usual me."

Thankful for our "Walking By Faith" Relay for Life team.  That walk was Friday night.  In the steady rain.  On the night before my first shift back.  My mom walked with me, both of us in our purple survivor shirts.  I walked 1 1/2 miles that I counted, which is more than I have walked in a long time.  I knew I needed to be dry at home getting ready for bed & work, but I left my heart on the track.  A lap for Rick, and one for Sybil too.

Thankful that while "I'm not as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was" still applies at work.  It was a good weekend.  Not too much exciting, but the patients live longer that way!  My badge and log-ins all worked, I had time to catch up on computer work that I can't access at work, and my co-workers got to love on me a bit.  They have raised me in the work world, after all.

Thankful to get out an overnight bag.  Last time I packed, it was the mastectomies.  This time, it's the CoMO girls, and I can't wait!  We made it several years to Cards-Royals games, but haven't all been together in at least 4 years.  Lunch with the step-sisters and cousin time for the boys, Rock Bridge State Park and Devil's Ice Box, maybe some Shakespeare's Pizza, and girl-time.  That is a full 36 hours!

Thankful for God's perfect timing.  Radiation starts Monday.  School starts Tuesday.  Perfectly planned, and I had nothing to do with it.  Chemo ended on the last Friday of school in May.  I got my summer staycation with the kids.  A huge part of our goals was that while the kids know all that is going on, they still get to be kids, and life seems kinda sorta halfway normal.  If I had to take them with me to the doc, I tried to end at the zoo, or a splash pad, or something else fun for them.

Thankful for the PTA volunteers.  School shopping for us?  A bag of candy for treats, a few new shirts, haircuts, and we are done!  We can order a box full of supplies tailored to each kids grade in the spring.  I like to coupon, but have no energy or desire to chase down $0.17 notebooks and $0.24 crayons. And, I think we have a cool PTA that takes care of the kids and the teachers too.  No, I am not volunteering.  But I will gladly donate anything you ask for!
Thankful for a stupid diagnosis to make me experiment with food more.  Kale chips, zucchini with tomatoes and cheese, chard, canteloupe, watermelon...  The only zucchini I would willingly eat came in the form of bread.  Now, I hate the thought of wasting a) food we paid $$ for and b) fresh fruit and veggies, so we are making a point to eat more of the good stuff, which means broadening the horizons for this picky eater.  Married 13 years, and I had no idea my husband liked beets.  I'm still not eating those, but maybe I will buy a few at the next Farmer's Market I run across.

Stop and count your blessings - eucharisteo is the word I am looking for.  Ann Voskamp's 1000 Gifts book.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Just A Thursday

I would offer you a Thankful Thursday, but I don't have it today.  It's not all sunshine and roses, and today has kinda been one of those days. 

I spent the day doing Radiation Simulations.  What is that, you ask?  I couldn't have told you exactly until today.  You meet the radiation doc and his nurse again (hey, it's been a long time since February when we met).  You sign a consent form that lists every. single. possible. side. effect.  I have already agreed to being poisoned and slashed.  What's some burning, too.  You hear about the available research trials.  One for me that involves a questionnaire a dozen times over a few years.  There was one on the Rad website that was 3 vs 6 weeks of rad, but only available for those who had lumpectomies and no lymph node involvement, so 6-7 weeks it is.  You go back to the CT room and lay on a chemical pillow of sorts that forms to my shoulder/ neck/ head so I don't move - either during today's CT scans as well as Radiation itself.  It felt like a million years with my arms above my head.  While I have that mobility, I can feel it pull and hurt from my elbow to  the middle of my ribs.  I didn't much care for that!  While I was there, they marked me all up and down the left side so they have a roadmap with definite points.  Some blood drawn to check my thyroid function, and Pulmonary Function Tests.  Radiation can damage my thyroid as well as my lungs - hence the baselines.  Somewhere in there was lunch, too.

Bright spot?  One of the Rad Techs grew up in northeast MO, and Edina, and her brother lives near my uncle in Palmyra.  She now lives in the town northwest of us.  Small worlds in a parallel universe!  

The funky mood? 

The roadmap - I have about 6 dots tattooed on now, but they really want the paint/ marker to stay on as long as possible.  So, the Plastics doc okayed the pool finally on Tuesday.  Rad Onc took it away on Thursday.  The little kid has been asking me to go swimming with him, not just drop them off & pick them up.  I was planning a hotel trip, and I can get in the water up to my waist.  Gee, thanks.  Ugh, why bother!?

I realize in the grand scheme of the cosmos, it's one summer in my kids life.  But in realizing school starts in a week, we have not ventured farther than 40 miles all stinkin' summer.  They have had no. summer. vacation.  What did you do on your summer vacation?  Uh, played xbox, watched unlimited TV, had sleepovers, and went to my mom's doctor's appointments.

I went back to Weight Watchers in July, as I promised myself I would after chemo and surgery. I weighed in once since then, and was up 0.8 lbs.  I have tracked food about 4 days in a month.  If I want the tummy tuck at the end of the scar-filled road, I have to be down 60 lbs.  And today I ate 2 Paul's Delights, pizza for lunch, and drank a can of Mountain Dew.  Food is controlling me, not me controlling it.  My give-a-dang is busted, and I need to fix it.  I am hoping the routine of school and radiation will help me get my groove back.

Sometimes cancer just stinks, and today is one of those days, for no particular worthwhile reason.  Tomorrow will be better, of that I am sure.  Ears finally pierced and Relay For Life.  Saturday & Sunday, it's back to work.  Purpose.  A challenge.  Prayers for endurance appreciated.