Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Clowns scare me

Quinn had his six week post-op appointment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.  There is a smaller satellite campus that is only about 40 minutes from our house (opposed to the one hour + main campus.)  Its a really nice little hospital.

This is the appointment where the surgeon gives Quinn the all clear to start up his normal activities like soccer... (oops, he's been playing since 2 weeks after surgery) and swimming (didn't even last a week after surgery for that one) and a removal from his meds (which he was caught pouring down the drain 3 weeks ago.)  So pretty much, this appointment was more to reveal how bad I stink at this whole care giver/parenting thing.  AS IF I need another reminder.

Our appointment was at 10:15.  So after dropping the other two off at school we busted our tails down to the hospital to check in *15 minutes before the scheduled appointment.*  The paper work said we were suppose to.  And I follow the rules.

Quinn was really happy to watch Doc McStuffins and meet Ronald McDonald, who apparently does rounds at the Children's Hospital.  Clever Mickey D's! Guess who got badgered into buying a Happy Meal after our visit?  Yep, this mom, that's who.

We stepped back into our examination room 20 minutes after our scheduled appointment time.  45 minutes after THAT I finally poked my head out the door to find out how much longer they thought it would be.  "Oh, we have not forgotten about you.  The doctor is running a bit behind."  Oh, DO YOU THINK??!!  15 Minutes after THAT another nurse popped her head in to tell us that she was really sorry and that we *should be* next.  Either we are or we are not.  I managed not to get huffy, but I did ask if there was any way we could get a book or a game or SOMETHING.  (You can only do so much thumb wrestling before your hand goes numb.) 

Seriously, there was a dang circus (literally!  There was a clown for goodness sakes) going on 30 feet from where we are sitting with the door closed for over an hour, but inside our room- not a book, not a game, not a TV... nothing.  My blood started to boil.  Not necessarily because we were waiting for so long (seriously, Quinn was not in a rush to get his school day going and I had cleared my schedule) but it was more the principle of the thing.  I busted my buns to be there early, we waited patiently, I paid a $50 co-pay.  The least they could have done was let us know on the front end we would be waiting.  Or had us sit in the lobby.  Or allowed us to get a snack.  Or let me ram my head into a brick wall.  Whatever.

Then, I found out the doctor was held up because of a procedure and it dawned on me.  There was a kid down the hall, scared, in pain, parents potentially afraid and here I am whining about ME.  Ugh.  I prayed for the child, his/her family.  People I won't ever meet.  My selfishness can drag me down sometimes.

An hour and a half later (after a 5 minute visit with the surgeon) we were sent on our happy way.  All is well.  Surgery was a success.  Quinn is healthy, beautiful and has a bright future in orthodontics ahead of him.  We are one Happy Meal toy richer and an hour and a half poorer.  But a trip to Children's Hospital always reminds you, it could be worse, so be thankful for what you have!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Good for the soul

It was a sweltering week here.  I loved every sweat-dripping-down-the-middle-of-my-back-moment.  I'm trying to soak it up, because before I know it, I'm going to have a chill in my bones that I won't be able to shake until May. 

We are enjoying a leisurely Saturday morning at home.  It is a rare occasion.  Really rare.  At 11:15 we begin the craziness, though.  Drop Turner at a friend's house for a play date, arrive at soccer field for Olivia's noon game, chase down Quinn's buddy who is also hanging around the field for his brother's game.  Make sure the two of them don't beat each other while trying to NOT make a fool out of myself while cheering for the Sneaky Snakes.  Easy Peasy.

We are still recovering from last weekend's three ring circus.  Maybe even a four ringer, since  my aunt and uncle (from Arizona) were in town.  We get to see them about twice a year, although we went a really long year and half stretch before seeing them last weekend.  So, naturally, we had to cram their visit full of our madness.  Soccer games, festivals, food truck rally, Buckeye game, laughing, crying, snuggling etc.  It was a magical weekend.

A particular highlight for me was late Saturday afternoon.  After all the crazy running around and fun having that we did Friday night and Saturday morning, my Aunt, Olivia and I spent time snuggling on the couch talking.  We spent nearly an hour telling Olivia stories about when I was little and when my aunt and my mom were little.  It was so special.  O was so dialed in and hanging on my aunt's words.  They are stories we don't discuss often enough.  With my mom passing when Olivia was three and a half, she has vague memories of Bebe but it is so important to me that she gets to know her through stories.

It also unleashed a part of me that I rarely realize needs unleashing.  Being an only child and having both parents gone, there is NO ONE to talk childhood with.  I know that having siblings does not guarantee reminiscing.  Siblings to not guarantee laughs, tears or history sharing.  I imagine they would, at least, provide a sense of connection to a part of life that perhaps no one else knows.  I could be wrong.  But I don't not have that.  If I stop long enough and dwell hard enough, it could be a very lonely, very sad place.  So I don't stop there. 

However, on the rare occasion of visiting with my aunt, I find that piece of history that I need accessed.  Places in my mind and heart I have not gone in years.  My grandmother's candy dish, her freezer full of ice cream sandwiches, my mom's sense of humor, her homemade mac 'n cheese, what she was like before her illnesses and her amputation.  Family.  History.  Me.

My heart was beyond full as we three generations sat on the couch.  A mixed kind of fullness- full of joy for a visit from my mom's sister- an extension of my mother's love, full of gratefulness as she loved me and my daughter and gave of her time, love and stories, full of sadness and grief as I would give anything to have my mom snuggled next to the three of us giving her version of the stories.  Full of family and love and emotion, full of openness to those things that I sometimes find myself closing off to in order to avoid, in order to *move on*, in order to live. 

Full.  Its a good place to be.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Save the Whoo-Haas

Is it really September 3rd already?  We had a great Labor Day weekend around here.  It was filled with lots of swimming and outdoor fun.  It was super hot and muggy which made for a great way to *close out* summer.  I find Labor Day to be a bit of a depressing holiday.  Mostly because I'm sad to see summer go. 

Here is another fact about September that snuck up on me... it is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.  This is something in the past two Septembers I have distanced myself from.  Largely due to the fact that most cancer-related things make me hyperventilate.  I'm not super fond of calling myself a *survivor*.  It is an odd identity.  Ovarian Cancer doesn't generate the cute bumper stickers (Save the Tatas and Fight Like a Girl come to my mind.)  Save the Whoo-Haas doesn't have the same ring, and teal isn't nearly as flattering for everyone as pink. 
 However, I did think it fitting that September will be the month that my port will be removed.  National Ovarian Cancer Awareness month...

My port is a little bumpy triangular thing that sticks out just to the right of my left armpit.  It was surgically implanted in February of 2010.  It will be surgically removed September 2013.  It doesn't hurt (although Turner rammed it with his head just last week and I have to say, it knocked the wind out of me) and unless you were looking, you may not even notice it.  But I know it is there.  It is the place where they took blood, infused poison and hooked up I.V's for several years.  Now I'll have to *get stuck* like a normal person.  I am thankful to have had a port during the worst of the worst, but I will not shed a tear as it is removed!

As September arrives, I'm not sure what my part as a *survivor* would be.  To re-tell my story of how I came upon my diagnosis?  Maybe.  And perhaps over the next few weeks I will.  I am not convinced that will help anyone else.  I don't love talking about my chemo, my diagnosis, my baldness, my weakness.  But I do LOVE to remember God's healing power, the generosity of others, the way my neighbors surrounded me with love and care.  I MUST remember how I needed to cling to God with every fiber of my being, how good my friends were to me, how amazing my husband's sacrifices were for me.  I am humbled and grateful for the amazing care of my oncologist, Dr. Tom Reid and the nurses that were gentle and caring.  It is a time of my life I would prefer to forget, but a time in my life that MUST be reflected on.  It changed my life... forever.

In a lot of really hard ways, but in so many ways that could have only happened through cancer.
Thank you, Lord, for allowing me today.  I am grateful for another September.  I hope I really am living out "Taste and see that the Lord is good." 
 Because He is.