Wednesday, August 30, 2017

These Crashy Days...

So a good friend sent me a private FB message saying if I didn't want to be so strong all of the time she was here to listen to me winge and whine anytime I needed it.  Said friend is definitely one of the smartest, safest people with whom I would rant and rave, but I try to save it for these blog posts.  I try not to drown people in sorrow on "Best Face forward-Book", that is the place of sunshine and light and family pics and "see how well I'm doing?? I'm fine, no Fine, no FINE I tell you, godddamit!

The truth is I dread every round of chemo.  I had a major meltdown last time when I thought I was on my "getting better" day (according to the demanding schedule inside of my head, based on the last round) and I tried to take the small dog for a five mintue shuffle down the road and found myself heart pounding, lathery sweat, shaking trying to get home.  Plus the stupid dog refused to poop, which probably meant a lovely surprise on the kitchen floor later, but that's a whine for another time...

I can sum up my chemo week (I get my infusion on a Tuesday and usuallys start crashing on Thursday) like the opening theme of that classic, feel good show,  Happy Days, if you're old enough to remember Fonz and the Gang sing along in your head:

Tuesday, Wednesday - HAPPY DAYS  (I have a buttload of steroids keeping me artificially afloat)

Thursday, Friday -CRASHY DAYS  (steroids have worn off... the drugged "Bill Cosby's date" feeling) sets in...

Saturday, Sunday - BONE PAINY DAYS (from my immune booster shot, ususally settles in a throbbing headache and lower back pain, with bonus shots down my front femurs, fun!)

Monday Comes, METAL MOUTH AND GUMS, and everything tastes like burnt sooo-ooot!

Sing it!  These days go ooon-ooon-oon... these crashy days!!!  For about 10-12 days they go ooon-ooon-oon, (along with gastrointestinal distress and various emotional breakdowns!)

Sing it!...   Ah, suck it!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

On Camping and other "C" words.....

Well, well well... who knew it could happen?  A family vacation during which I do not cry once?  It only took 10 years for us to be able to leave with the boys out of the house and not wish for the sweet realease of.. oh, wait, maybe I shouldn't joke about that anymore, given present circumstances.


So i guess I'll put this experience into the gratitude category which has gotten a lot longer as of late.  I have to work carefully to control the behavior of my mind.  It is so easy to get scared and say "what if.. and worry about whether the dreaded beastie will decide to spread, now or down the road.  Granted, it has a 95% chance of never making another uninvited appearance, but that 5% will niggle at you, if you let it.  It is an unpredictable beast and when my mind wants to dwell on this I must control it's behavior, like that of a toddler.  Re-direct, distract, give it ice-cream.

Counting my blessings is a great way to change the direction of my meandering brain.  This experience has given me as much as it has taken away, I am awestruck by the kindness and thoughtfulness of my friends, and people who hardly know me, but still go out of their way with a kind message or gesture or a gift.  I have learned that my family is not a bunch of people who wait until all of my work is done to get a scrap of my time, nor should they be.  I have given myself permission to carve out time to take care of myself, to say no and to not feel obligated.  I have learned that the phrase "it's not life or death" really means just that, because I now have a context to compare.

When the doctor gives you the "C" diagnosis, you really, genuinely believe in that moment that you are going to die, that your children will be motherless, that you will miss everything from that point on.  To then find out you are probably going to be ok is really to have your life yanked from you, re-molded and given back in a new form.  That new form is often given in a perspective that few get to truly experience.

It is a small club with a very shitty inititation ceremony, but I'm so glad to have it's membership.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Time marches on.. and stomps on my head.

Well, it is happening.  I don't know if I thought I would get off easy, that I would be lucky.  It's strange because through all of this I've always felt incredibly blessed and lucky in my life and I continue to feel that way.  I caught the cancer early, it was a stage 1, it was ER/PR + and HR- (the best type of breast cancer to get, you know...) and the tumour was mucinous, which tend not to spread, and the lymph nodes were clear.  So I thought I had the proverbial cancer horseshoe up my ass.

I thought, maybe I wouldn't lose my hair, even though I said out loud "I will definititely lose my hair" to anyone who suggested I may not.  I guess deep down inside, maybe I thought I would be lucky.  Anyway, as I was blow-drying my hair yesterday (day 13.. LUCKY!) after chemo round #1, and I noticed long strands coming out all over my hands.  I tentatively pulled at a few strands, and sure enough.. out they came.

Even though I said, it's only hair, it will grow back, I'll have a nice wig, it was always an abstract idea that has quickly become concrete.

I feel sad and this sucks and it makes it real in way that wasn't before.

My daughter just silently walked over to me and threw her arms around my waist,  which was the exact right thing to do.  She didn't try to make me feel better or "bright side" it away.

I got in the shower and I didn't know whether to scrub it all out to get it over with or to baby it to try to stave off the inevitable a little longer.   I guess the middle path is always the right one, so I'll baby it until my scheduled hair appointment in a week, at which time I will cut it off short.  That way if it goes patchy or wonky up there, I can just plop the wig (whose name is Lindsay.. says the wig maker) on top until I buzz it.  That's the plan.

I just have to let this happen as it will, it's going to anyway.  I guess I'll take a pass on this one and save the luck for the important stuff, like living till 100 after I beat this thing.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A New Show Begins...

I just checked this old blog that I used to write, to help me cope with the tramatic experience of raising twin boys who were a little more "active" and "intense" than I had prepared for.  Suffice to say that raising children did not meet with my expectations of my earlier research: namely, childhood reruns of the Cosby Show.  

Well, we all know where putting our faith in the values held by Bill Cosby has gotten us, so I digress...

I noticed that when the boys began to get a bit easier, I found it more difficult to write, so I stopped.  It has never gotten easy, but after the age of 3 or 4 I either found some good drugs or the boys stopped being quite so impossible.  Well now I find myself in need of a space to write to chronicle a new experience, for myself, so I don't forget the fight I will win or the lessons I will learn along the way.  

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April 2017.  This came as quite a shock, because I neither had the lifestyle factors (excessive drinking, smoking, obesity etc) or the family history to explain it.  I always thought cancer was something I was immune to, having more of a heart disease type family.  I had a firm sense of control over my life, I did all the right things, and I still got fucking cancer.  


The good news, however is that it was a good type of cancer to get.  That was my doctor's first consolation after she sent me reeling in her office with the diagnosis.  I clung to that word like a life raft for the first 10 seconds.  She said it was a mucinous ductal carcinoma.  At first she said the mucinous part worried her because it was a rare type of cancer.  As soon as I heard "rare" I heard "dead", because there are no large movements to fund research for rare diseases.  Then she told me in was a subtype of ductal cartinoma, which was the most treatable type.  She gave me a bunch of information and I left in a daze, texting BF, Cyn to "come to my house now".  She left her work and came immediately.  I called DH Chris at work (he teaches at a high school) and he came right home.  

I couldn't read anything or do anything.  Chris and Cynthia read stuff for me and gave me the reassuring pieces where they found them.  Apparently mucinous subtype has the best prognosis and is the least likely to spread, which was welcome hope.  Then Chris went on to become more of and expert in horemone receptor status, genetic phenotypes of tumours, stages and grades (without burdoning me with this of course).

I am four months in, and I had to start at the beginning to write about now... but I'll have to save now for later.

Well the upside is, cancer is a crappy hand to be dealt, but it sure cures writers block.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Biggest Fan...

So it's happening.  Last post I wrote about the 10 year old wanting me to be boring around her friends... like do not draw undue attention. Be. The. Coat.  Rack.  Make yourself useful and nothing more.

Fine...  I resolved to take it in stride.  This is what I had been waiting for, right?  I have longed for this day, an unravelling of the umbilicus before it strangled me to death.  I remember when all three of them were little and they would pounce on me, like a weakened wildebeast straggling behind the herd, to exhausted to fight.  There was never enough of me to go around, so much so that I lost myself for  a good long while.  There's still not quite enough of me to go around for the boys, but while I wasn't looking, she unwrapped herself.  She has been picked to run the Marathon of Respect and Equality, something she has wanted to do for the last few years... school kids usually go down to watch the runners finish.  This year she gets to run and I was talking about how I was going to juggle my work schedule to be there when she finished.

"Uh, mom, you don't have to be there..."  she opens.  "No, honey, I'll make it work" I say.  The it hit's me..." um... unless you don't want me to be there" (thinking this could not possibly be true).  She gives me a look of relief like I've finally gotten it and she didn't have to spell it out.

"Oh," I say.. "so you don't want anyone there to see you finish the big race?  You've been wanting to run in this for years."  She replies, "well my friends and teachers will be there"

Subtext:  they are enough... I don't need you.  The person I need to be proud of me at that moment is. not. you.

So here it is... the moment when the umbilicus begins to unravel and stretch.  That bond that we forged when she is little, for the first 7 or 8 years of her life is all that will hold her to me for the next 10 or so years... it's going to stretch out while she floats away from me.  I'm sure it will be strong enough to get us through, until she comes back to me.

This is the moment I was waiting for, her launch, getting a piece of myself back again.

It doesn't quite fit as nicely as it used to.  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Alpha Female

So I spent the early years of this blog writing about the mind-numbing stress of raising two intense twin boys who seemed intent on wringing every bit of sanity from my withered shell.  They are six now, and while life is still "busy".. things have settled to the point where I can now take a breath, sleep in on the weekends (except for the new *&%$# hockey practise... 730 am ice time on Sat WTF!!)  I have to say that things are trucking along ok...

Enter the TWEEN.  No, it did not say Queen... although that is probably the expecation.  My now ten year old girl.  She is a brilliant, beautiful precocious girl.  She has always seemed older than her years and is now entering a new phase of her life.  I told her when she was younger that someday she would grow to be embarrassed by me, would think she hated me at times and would want nothing to do with me for years.  She did not believe me when at age 7 I told her I would be the last person she would want to hang out with.

It started a few months ago, at age 9... with her asking me haltingly... "Mom, do you think you could be a little less.... ummm, enthusiastic when you pick up my friends in the car?".  I recognized the beginning of the end when I saw it, but I have to say it took me about 5 more months to figure out that she did not want a "fun, cool mom"... which incidently, I thought I would EXCEL at ....  but a boring, invisible mom.  Turns out she wants to be the only act in town when her friends are around.  Makes sense.  I was not hurt.  I worked with teens long enough to know that this is totally normal behavior and I have seen them come back.  I have faith that I am not losing her forever, that she will like cool, adventerous mom when she is old enough to work through her identity and find her confidenece.

I need to write this down so I can remember that I am not hurt by this behavior, this is the beginning of a long period of anthropological research on my part.  I'm like the Jane Goodall of my house.  She didn't take it personally when her apes threw poop at her, so I am going to attempt to remain stoic when she throws shit at me.

I'll have to continue to ask myself, WWJD?  What would Jane do?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

On altered reality and e-crafts

Ok, so I had a rather awkward situation the other day...ok, maybe it's only awkward in my mind, but I live in a bit of a Seinfeldian universe where the minutia of life is blown up to disproportionate dimensions and is examined for every bit of entertainment or interest that I can milk out of it.

 Kind of like the Kardashians....

So the other day I'm obsessively checking my facebook (which I generally ignore...Sorry CO), for signs of life from my friend Tiana who went to Thailand for three months in hopes of catching a parasite to drop a dress size or two (Seriously, Khloe, you could learn a thing or two, girl... where is your committment?).

Actually, Tiana is jetsetting to Bangkok to attend a university there to gain a certification in peace and conflict resolution and we all really miss her.....  the parasite will just be a bonus.

So, back to Facebook, I'm looking for signs of life from T, and I notice that I have received a notification that I have received a comment on a comment that I supposedly left on the wall of an acquaintence that I hardly know ( a friend of a friend's husband) Ack... did you get all that (Hi, y'all... this is my cousin Zeke's boyfriend's sister-in law's parrot's former owner's cousin.... twahce re-moooooved....)

Curious......have I messaged a strange man who I hardly know in some kind of stress induced fugue state?      Nope, I haven't had that kind of stress induced state since last year before the boys turned human....but would have made an awesome blog post...

But no, I don't remember leaving a comment on this guy's wall.  So, getting to the point, when I checked the comment, it turns out that he replied "Aw shucks, thanks!" for a "special birthday card" that I had supposedly  made for him online and sent to him for his birthday.

Now, I know that I have not crafted this guy a special e-card to post to his wall for his birthday.... I'm never on facebook and I'm too lazy to even comment on people's profiles that I do know well.  This must be some facebook marketing thing, wherein they create false birthday cards, hijack your profile to send these cards to people on their birthdays to make them click on them and download the app to their profile.  So I think, "well, he's probably gotten dozens of these things from other people through the same marketing scheme..."

I check his wall and.... nope.  Among the 50 or so wall posts of well wishers, all from people he actually does know well, here is my post with the message "I made a special birthday card just for you", with my picture profile attached.

This just looks weird to me.  What is he thinking?  I met him once, two years ago as the husband of my friend's friend.  No other contact since that time.  And here I am, the only one on his whole facebook wall with a special birthday card made just for him????  And... what would his wife think?  I look like a weirdo.....

So now I'm left with this dilemma... do I write an offhand comment like, "yeah, I'm glad you had a good birthday, but I didn't send you a card"  kind of seems.... bitchy....

Or do I leave the card and have him think

A) I'm some kind of strange stalker or:

B)  I'm one of those strange internet people

You know the ones... sending farmville requests, forwarding you tonnes of "send this to 7 people or you'll have 100 years of bad luck"..., taking the time to calculate how smart they really are with those online IQ tests.... and they have over 4000 face book "friends".

....Obsessively creating e-cards to send to almost complete strangers over the internet...

The best I can hope for is that he thinks I'm type B, and that I scrapbook and decoupage too..... and live with lots of cats, and bejewel my wardrobe made entirely of light-wash denim....

Oh, the sisters Kardashian would kill for that storyline....