Sunday, June 26, 2011

Clean up in aisle 6

The other day Turner said to me, "Hey mom, will you take me to the store and buy me some *Car Race* underwear?" (Car Race is what he calls the movie Cars.) "And can Olivia and Quinn stay home with daddy?" I'm pretty sure that is the first time, EVER, Turner has requested alone time with me.

Don't get me wrong, Turner and I have a special relationship. But this kid is one unique mix. He spends more time in time out than the other two. He has a fondness for the words poopy and stinky. He has more cuts and bruises and gashes and wounds than the other two combined. He loves to play sword fight and car crash and growl at girls. And then in the next breath he is no where to be found, vanished in his room, by himself playing trains. Looking for a little down time. He will sit for a long chunk of time looking at books. He requires many cuddles, snuggles and kisses from both mommy and daddy. He, in short, is a mystery!
So, when he asked the other day for a date just with me, I jumped right on it.

Friday afternoon, Turner and I hopped in the car. He didn't stop talking from the moment we got in the car until we pulled back in the garage. He was so cute. We stopped at Sam's Club first to grab a few things. He pointed things out and declared what he liked and didn't like. Asked if we could try different things and stayed real close to me the whole time (usually he likes to run the open aisles.)

Next stop, Target. He picked out his new underwear. He also spotted things he thought Quinn and Olivia would like and asked if we could buy stuff for them. He and I shared a pop corn and he was utterly delightful. I bought the three kids foam swords and when he asked if he could play with it the store and was told no he responded, "Okay, mommy." The big culmination of the date was 25 minutes of me sitting on an empty display and he on the floor of the toy aisle where he was delighted to play with Star Wars action figures and Transformers in the box. He interacted with other kids and my heart melted all over the floor.

We held hands on our way to the check out. He obeyed. He was adorable. He even tinkled standing up in the women's room. Perfect date from start to finish. Perhaps Turner was created to be an only child. And from time to time, he should get to be one!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It is finished

Finished. Over. Finito. Don't let the door hit 'ya where the good Lord split 'ya. Round 6 is now officially in the record books. And I have to say, not a day too soon as far as I'm concerned.

Now, I'm not done with chemo, mind you. In fact, I have a full year to go. Have I mentioned that wee little detail? But as far as I'm concerned I could do this next chemo with one IV tied behind my back! It's one little drug that takes 1/2 hour to go in, I get my hair, my eyelashes, my energy and my appetite back. Four things I dearly love and have missed. I will have bloody boogers, which can come in handy as cool party tricks. Other than chemo once every three weeks, blood draws twice in there and a Dr's appointment as well (hey, wait a minute, they tricked me... I'm not done AT ALL!) I'm home free.

I took in some LuLee's Lollies to *share with the class* on my big day. They were a hit. But what was hilarious was that there were two other ladies finishing up chemo today too. And we all brought treats. I swear there were people from other parts of the hospital hitting up our party. We had fruit pizza, chocolate chip cookies, pretzels with rolos and fruit and dip. It was a true graduation party. I hugged nurses, high fived other patients, was a pain in the butt to the new lady who was starting, I'm sure. But it felt good. I get to go in three more times this week (2 days for shots and one day for a lab draw) and three times next week, on my *off week*. Once for a CT scan, once for a Dr.'s appointment and finally for another lab draw. So now that I'm *finished*, I get to go more than most patients. Glamorous, right?!

Please save the date of Saturday, July 9th. Don't you worry, it's not just the people in the chemo room who get to party it up. YOU DO TOO! We are throwing an "I survived 6" post chemo party from 2-5 at the park in my neighborhood. And if you've ever read this blog, said a prayer, gave ten cents, gave a rip, sent a card, sent a gift, or are breathing and just want to come, then you are invited. There will be cake and goodies and a park for your kids to play in. I sincerely hope we pack the park out and run out of cake and goodies because so many of you come. We want to thank you for the involvement you've had in our lives through this. I'll do another specific post on the party but I wanted to give you a heads up.

After this, I hope I can get back to blogging about stuff that is lighter, funnier and more whimsical (because, Oh my, don't those three words describe me to a T? Ha!) than my journey through cancer. But hey, it is what it is, right?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A rough on

It's been a day. The day after Tuesday chemo is a doozie. I've mostly been in bed. Sleeping. Reading. I did do a load of laundry, washed it, folded it and put it away. That was my big endeavor. Not quite Pilates, was it?

I know each day will improve a bit. It helps to know this is the last one. But honestly, I feel like crap. A friend came over. I felt badly, I laid in bed because I was nauseous. Then for funzies, I threw up. One sight of the kids dinner and it was over.

To top a perfectly crappy day, I found out my dad had to go to the ER for a blood clot in his leg. That was several hours ago. I'm waiting for him to call. His health isn't great and he has not been feeling well for several weeks. Prayers for him would be appreciated.

Somehow, I'm going to trust the Lord with all of this. What else can I do? I think I'm finally getting it through my thick skull that worrying doesn't do me any good. I'm doing battle against the *what if's*. Because who the heck can grasp the plans of the Lord, right?

Please pray that tomorrow will be a touch better. No barfing would be nice, but grace in the moment if I do. This too shall pass. And then? We'll PARTY!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cut me some slack, it's the middle of the night

Well, it's 2:30 in the morning and I can't sleep. Maybe its because of my least favorite treatment in the morning (4 liters of fluid pumped into my belly... even though its the last one... I still hate the thoughts of it) maybe its the steroids yesterday, maybe it's the previews shown for next week's Bachelorette (looks like it's going to be a doozie) who knows. And who cares, insomnia is insomnia. I spent the past hour praying. There is so much to pray for. And I'm not talking about myself.

A friend I've met through cancer is having surgery in the morning. She has lung cancer and has had a weird node in her abdomen. They are going in in the morning to remove it. Pray that Sara Jane has a successful surgery, please.

My sweet friend, Aimee, lost her baby at 22 weeks in January. They have had trouble getting pregnant again. She is still reeling from her loss. Please pray for her.

My dad's health has not been good. Please pray for him.

My doctor's wife's mom just had her aortic valve replaced, please pray for Julie's mom.

Seriously, I could go on and on. (And I did for an hour in bed.) Sometimes I think Jesus lets us stay awake in the night so that we can get our minds off ourselves and pray for others. I suspect over the past several months He has done the same to some of you on my behalf and that is humbling!

Then I stumbled downstairs and thought I'd blog a bit. I turned on tv and found House Hunters on vacation. I LOVE House Hunters (HGTV). Thisnew show takes a family on vacation and gives them some crazy resorts to choose from. They choose one in the end. Now... I'm dreaming of the beach. Maybe I should have stuck to praying :) !

Anyhow... I know this is a bit of a random post. What can I say, it is 2:46 in the morning. But I know how it goes from here on out and you may not hear from me for the next few days. (Hmmm.. so this is what I leave you with. Sorry.) Happy Tuesday and don't forget Bath and Body Works is having their Semi-annual sale and you can score some SUPER cheap stuff right now. (*random*)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Please don't lose all respect for me

I made it through day one of round 6. Thanks for all of your prayers. Two more drug days to go (next Monday is the last one.) I'm practically giddy. Maybe its the steroids?! Or maybe it's that the Bachelorette starts in 7 minutes. Its such a train wreck and I just can't look away. I got together with three girls last Monday and we took over Carrie's basement with an enormous tv. It was so much fun to yell at the guys. Gossip. Give our 2 cents. I didn't get home until midnight and nearly gave Steve a heart attack. I don't think I've been out that late in years. I literally felt care free that night. And it was all centered around trash. Two weeks ago I told Steve I thought I might stop watching because, honestly, this Bachelorette is dull. She is even a bit boring. But I've decided that this dumb show gives me something other than cancer to text my friends about. For nearly two hours there are several friends I'll shoot a text or if there is something TOTALLY absurd I'll even call during a commercial. It's so much fun. And so carefree.

Shoot, it's starting... gotta run...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Take two

I spent about 20 minutes yesterday pouring out my heart in a post only to hit publish and lose it. Big bummer.

Basically, the gist of the post had to do with a really great appointment I had with my oncologist on Thursday. You would think that a great appointment would lead to a bubbly and excited post. But what I wanted to share was how my thinking is so messed up.
While in the chemo room there is lots of talk. Most of the talk is fine and encouraging but there are occasionally conversations that leave me freaked out.

Particularly the ones that have to do with stats and odds and how many long years certain people have been doing chemo. So one of the things during this appointment I wanted to clear up were some of the rumors I've heard that conflicted with what I remember the doctor telling me.
In a nutshell, he shared mostly what I already knew but with a few differing details. For instance, I was under the impression that 80% of the cases go on to cure. Actually, it's 80% go into remission and of those 80%, 25% will go into cure. (Remission means there are no visible signs of cancer. Cure is when you've been in remission for 5 or more years.) That really threw me for a loop.

But then, he went on to share his view of my case. And let me tell you something, women around the chemo room would kill to have the positive news that I had! He talked about the success of my surgery, the way my numbers came down so quickly with the chemo, and lots of other things. By the way, my cancer number is now down to 9... below double digits. (My personal goal! So stupid. Who has a personal goal for something they can't control? Me, that's who.) He said he felt really good about my case and feels very optimistic. He said he would say there is a 75% chance for me to hit cure.

I left his office feeling full of fear and doubt (stupid, right?) What has been so frustrating is that I just can't seem to turn my view of life from the *glass is half empty* to the *glass is half full*. While most people would have been all *Yippee, them are good odds!* I'm all, *I'll probably be in that 25% because life tends to crap on my (bald) head.*
And worst of all, I have already forgotten all that the Lord has done for me. Steve and I went home and prayed and after talking to a friend last night, I've been able to have a bit of a better perspective. Better yet, I've been reminded that it really doesn't matter what my *chances* are. I've got a God who is in control.

And just because He is in control it doesn't mean I'll automatically be in the 75%. It does mean that WHATEVER happens, it will be good.

I get pretty focused on living (which is a good thing) but then I cross over into obsessed. Meaning, I can't imagine not living. I plan, I control, I obsess, I fret, I worry, I make myself sick. I don't trust, I don't let go, I don't live like TODAY I am cancer free.

These sweet little faces are the ones I fear for the most. And when I do that, I once again forget that there is a God who loves them even more than me. If He chooses to put me in the 25%, it's HIS deal to manage the rest. Shoot, it's HIS deal either way.

Somehow, I've found comfort in this. I'm still praying to be part of the cure group. (And I'll ask you to do the same) but in the meantime, I need to find a way to live- and that means making peace with the fact that either group is fine by me! Those are my prayers as I enter into this final round of chemo on Monday. One more to go (and then I start a year of less intensive follow-up chemo... more on that later.). Can you believe we've made it this far? I can't! And it's largely due to your prayers. Thank you, thank you, thank you. And keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

From the *I'm an Idiot* files

Well, I've been meaning to post for days, but I've been too busy gallivanting around the city to have time to blog. That's a good thing, I suppose. Friday was date night, Saturday we worked out and ended up at a local strawberry festival (where in the 90 degree heat and 110% humidity, we nearly lost a child who insisted on doing the bounce house and quickly over heated), Sunday was the first trip to the outdoor pool (along with everyone else in Dayton), Monday found me at my first Pilates class since January (my abs HATE me today) and in the evening was a pedicure with a good friend followed by the Bachelorette with some girls (I got home at midnight... can't even remember the last time I stayed out that late!) Finally, today, the park and a friend's backyard pool. Let's just say I *tend* to over do it on my good weeks. But soon, every week is going to be a good week, right?! Does that mean I'll finally just normal out or will it mean every week will be an over doing it week? Time will tell.

There are still a lot of fun and jam packed days to look forward to this week, but I have to say that Monday looms close in my mind. The final intensive treatment. I'm having a love/hate relationship with it. On the one hand I know I have to walk through it to get it behind me, on the other hand... I HATE the rough week. But shoot, it's the last rough week. So, I need to get all prayed up and ready. In the mean time... I've got some living to do. Feel free to pray as you like! (Perhaps along the lines that I quit being an idiot :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

My hero

Round 5 is officially in the history books. Thank you, Jesus. It was a long, rough one, but guess what? There is only O.N.E. more to go.

Since this cancer ride began in January, there have been many blog posts . Some filled with fear, some filled with thanksgiving, some filled with dread, some filled with amazement. But it has occurred to me that there has been something lacking. And shame on me! So here is a post filled with admiration for my loving husband, with whom I would not have been able to make it through this thing.
When Steve and I got married 8 years ago, I remember telling him that I felt sorry for all the other girls out there because now they didn't have a shot with him. Off the market!
How in the WORLD did I end up with such an amazing man? God's grace, that's how! (And I'm not just sayin' all this 'cuz mama wants a new pair of shoes. It's all true.)
Steve is the BEST dad in the whole world. Patient, kind, attentive, interactive and fun. During our cancer journey, Steve has put his career on the back burner. He's still working, but he has been by my side at EVERY SINGLE CHEMO TREATMENT. I know that many jobs would not allow a husband to do so and that is not a poor reflection on them, it's just that our ministry happens to allow for it and he has chosen to do so. I needed him and he has been there.

He takes me back to the truth of God's Word, time and time again. When I find myself in the pit of despair, he doesn't try to fix me (usually). He listens, he prays and he crys when he needs to.

He has done tons of house work, trips to the park, trips to the grocery, fixing of dinner,loving a bald lady and complimenting me daily, and even cheering me on when I need to *pass gas* (romantic, right?)

Things like cancer could really rock a lot of marriages. We thank God that this has brought us closer and more in love than ever. I know he is tired and weary from the journey. We look forward to things getting back to *normal* (whatever that might be). But I couldn't let another day pass without publicly affirming my amazing husband. I thank God that he gave you to me!

*These amazing pictures were taken by my friends Amber Wing (Ciao Bella Photography) and Shannon Perlow (Locke Innovations) back in February right before chemo treatments began. I have had a hard time posting them until now (but with an end in sight and the hope of having hair once again, I've found it easier.) Both of these women are incredibly talented and we are indebted to them for their generosity of photographing our family!