Friday, August 29, 2008


I love September. It is one of my favorite months. Not only does it usually end up being one of the nicest months of weather in Seattle, we get just a tiny hint of fall with some of the leaves starting to change and the weather getting just a little crisp in the morning and evenings.

September is also the time when I get to fill up my calendar. I get all of the dates for school functions, girl scouts, soccer games and practice, choir concerts and school breaks. Since I am definitely a planner, this type of fullness in my calendar makes me feel secure and happy.

The coming of September is just what I needed to feel like I am getting my life back. I spent the afternoon putting all of the school, soccer and girl scout dates on my calendar. It is what I do every September and it feels good to have this one be no different than any other despite being in treatment for cancer. I like organizing my family's days. It makes me feel needed and part of something larger than myself.

Larry has been out of town for work all week long and it has just been the girls and I. He has done such a great job of taking care of us that we all stood around with a blank look on our face the first day that he was gone. But then, even though I wasn't feeling well and Cailey wasn't feeling well, we picked ourselves up by our boot straps and took care of each other. We had to make sure all of us were fed and clean, got ourselves to appointments and we even had to do laundry and take out the garbage! Who knew that was what it was going to take to get that precious glimpse of getting my life back? Just a tiny slice of normal. My kids needed me and I needed them and we did it!

We can't wait for Larry to come home but it is nice to know that slowly but surely, I am getting my life back.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I Want My Life Back!

That's just all there is to it. I want my life back. I am tired of cancer being the center of my whole life. I am tired of not being able to take care of my family, I am tired of not being able to go out and have fun. I have spent the last 48 hours in bed feeling miserable. Not only have I been feeling miserable, but now Cailey has strep throat and not only can I not take care of her, I can't even go near her.

The thing I have wanted most in my whole life is to be a mother. I have the greatest children on the planet. They are sweet and brave and smart and beautiful and compassionate and understanding. And I can't go near them right now. I have not once said that it isn't fair that I have cancer. I have not once said, "Why me?". I don't know why it is me and life is definitely not fair, but I want to take care of my children. I want their needs to be important right now. I don't want everything they are going through to take a back seat to something as greedy and evil as cancer. I WANT MY LIFE BACK!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Yesterday was chemo round 3 and as usual, I feel just slightly hung-over this morning, but so far so good. I had two good friends join me yesterday, Angie and Inga. It is a great excuse to be able to see friends that I don't get to see very often. It makes what would be a very boring day into a nice afternoon visit

I am now 75% done with chemo! I have high hopes that this round will be similar to the second round and pretty easy to get through. I am trying to do everything exactly the same as last time in the hopes that a ritual is exactly what I need. I am going to see the acupuncturist this afternoon and am hoping for the same results.

It has been an interesting week for care taking around here. Darci ended up with Strep throat while she was in Denver so she needed a little extra care when she came home (she is completely back at 100% now). Cailey got braces on Monday and a headgear so she has been needing some extra care this week with a very sore mouth and a limited amount of food that she can eat. I think she thought it would be great to eat ice cream and jello all day, but it is not proving to be as fun as she thought.

And now in a day or so it will be my turn. I should probably feel ok until about Saturday and then once again will rely on my family to take care of me. I have realized that somewhere along the line we have raised very compassionate children. They take care of each other and are willing to take care of me as well. They get it-they understand that it isn't fun and it isn't my first choice of how to spend my weekend, but that it is necessary.

So we will all take care of each other and we will all make it through

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

God's humor

God certainly has a strange sense of humor. I have had so many people tell me that they wish they could do more and that they don't always know how to help. I have told everyone to not worry because I appreciate what they can do and everyone has different gifts to share.

I sent my children to Denver to stay with friends this week, a trip that the girls have been looking forward to all summer. I got a call from them yesterday telling me that Darci is sick. She tends to be sick to her stomach any time she has a fever and sure enough, this is what happened. She was sick twice yesterday and now has a fever, a cough and a sore throat. I can hear her trying not to cry when I talk to her and I know she doesn't like being sick away from home.

I have never had either one of my kids away from me when they are sick. I feel so helpless! I can talk to her and tell her it will be OK and to rest and drink fluids, blah, blah, blah. But I can't hold her and I can't make her feel better. I hate it! I have complete faith that my friends will take care of her and give her lots of love, but I am her mother and it hurts me to not be able to take care of her myself. I am helpless and I don't like it one bit.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

For You...

I get cards many times a week from people. Today I received one from someone who I love very, very much. As with any emotional exchange between her and I, it was heartfelt and genuine and I cried when I read it. This is a person who has a lot going on in her life right now and I know has a certain amount of guilt about not being able to be there for me more throughout this journey. So this post is in her honor, but is for every single person who has helped me in ways big or small over the last months. I have great friends and family. You have all done more for me than I ever dreamed possible.

You have sent 1 card, you have sent a thousand cards. You have called once or a thousand times. You have sent emails and left notes. You have brought food, drink, flowers and gifts. You have raised money and donated money, not only to me, but to the Breast Cancer cause. You have listened to me talk and talked to me when I didn't have any more words. You have talked to me about everything and nothing. You have let me tell you about my life and have told me about yours in return so that I can remember that life is much more than cancer.

You have taken my children for an hour or a day or more. You have let them be sad if they want to be or let them be children with no worries. You have made plans and changed plans. You have waited with me patiently and impatiently. You have given me one hug or a thousand, one kiss or a thousand. You have let me cry. You have not let me cry. You have cried with me or without me.

You have watched me change my appearance and looked at me as if it hadn't. You have treated me like I was as fragile as a butterfly wing and as strong as iron. You have reminded me that I am both. You have felt sorrow and anger and fear on my behalf. You have felt pride and elation and joy and relief with me and for me. You have never lost hope. You have spoken my name to someone you care about. You have told someone to take care of themselves or you have made a choice in your own life to make sure you aren't where I am at.

You have lost sleep. You have enjoyed a moment with your family with extra sweetness. You have thought about me once or once an hour. You remembered dates and milestones that I thought were only important to me. You have taken the very special and personal relationship that you have with God and used that relationship to pray for me. You prayed for strength or clarity or health or nothing. Maybe you didn't even use words, but you used that precious relationship for me and you made me understand that I was worth it.

You have reached out to someone in my family or one of my friends. You have spoken to or emailed someone that you have nothing in common with but one thing-me. You have driven or walked out of your way just to say hello and that you are thinking of me.

How can any of these things carry less weight than the others? They don't. Everyone has a gift that they have chosen to share with me. I am grateful for every single one of them, small and large, a single incidence or a hundred. If I haven't told you before, or if I forget to tell you tomorrow, if I can't get to the phone or talk to you in person-Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, Thank you.

Monday, August 4, 2008


Monday,day 6 after chemo number 2. Now I believe I can do two more. This time has been drastically better than last time. I did not take one pain pill. Not one. I took Advil throughout the day yesterday for various shooting aches and pains, but nothing constant. I still have a general drain of energy and I didn't have a lot of activity today-in fact spent most of the day sitting down in my living room. But here is the difference, last time by day 6 I didn't have enough energy to walk upstairs by myself and couldn't be upright for more than about 30 minutes at a time. I also felt like I had been hit by a truck, many times over. This time I got hit by a bike maybe-a big bike, but not a truck.

I am generally a planner and having cancer has made me think against my nature in much smaller chunks of time. I focus on the next appointment, the next treatment and no further. I couldn't focus on any amount of time longer than that because I didn't know what it would look like.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time on the couch watching movies. One was based in New York, a city that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE! I had a conversation with Larry last night telling him that I want to take the girls to New York some day to go to restaurants that we have seen on TV, skate in Rockefeller Center, play in Central Park and enjoy one of the greatest cities on earth. Larry did what he always does when I have these ideas....yes, yes, that is a great idea, of course we should do it.

I'm glad he reacted the same way because it means his expectations of me haven't changed, but I realized that mine had. I quit thinking about the future and this was the first time since May that I have had the confidence to throw out a discussion about the future in an abstract way. I have the same right to expect a "someday" as anyone else. I now have the confidence that I will have the opportunity to have those somedays, lots and lots of somedays.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two down

I am at day 4 after my second chemo treatment. While knocking on wood, I will say that so far this one seems to be a little bit easier than the last one. I am still feeling OK-no pain to speak of really and my taste buds are still at least partially in tact. I don't have a lot of energy, but that is really my biggest complaint at this point.

The girls ran in a Kid's 1K this morning in Snoqualmie. Snoqualmie is definitely a small town and this event reflected that. We probably walked at least a mile before we found the beginning of the kids walk. They ended up doing great although I think it was a little harder than they thought it would be. They have never done an organized run before so really had no idea of what they were getting into.

We told them how proud we were of them and assured them that it would be easier next time. I guess that is our lesson to learn. It is always harder when you don't know what to expect and the best way to improve is to learn from your experiences. If all else fails, just believe that you can do it.