A painful lesson

Sep 25

For months, months, I have been ranting about my lack of understanding about technology.  In 2008, I lost my hard-drive on my computer in a insta-crash.  With it, I lost most of my videos of baby Maren.  Since then I’ve been fierce about backing up my computer, and rooted in the truth that I need to be on top of this stuff. I wave my hand above the head about “The Cloud”, how I “have” The Cloud, I pay a storage fee for The Cloud, but I find it to be elusive and frustrating and hard to manage.  But it felt better to have back up capacity than to be vulnerable.  I’ve started-stopped-started-stopped trying to catalogue our digital files because I try to stop at the point where my frustration boils to tears.  It’s so slow, I can’t tell how many copies of the same thing I have, I don’t know what file name extensions mean, and I-used-to-feel-like-an-intelligent-human-what-just-happened.  Unfortunately, this means I make little progress. I also know that neither my genetics nor my age are helpful in this equation. (Ha!) With the same mindset, I’ve been trying to be vigilant with my phone, but have been knocked-down-dragged-out frustrated with my lack of ability to understand the communication between my devices.  I truly thought that, while my content wasn’t organized content, it was all there somewhere.  And, it was all backed up somewhere. This morning when I woke up at five in the morning and couldn’t use the light on my phone to find my water glass, I had a bad feeling.  (Note: no water came in contact with my phone.) My time spent with the tech support people with regard to my black-screen-no-matter-what-do-iPhone is telling me this: despite thinking I’ve had my phone backed up for the past fourteen months, it has not been backed up. So, fourteen months of photos and videos of our memories are gone.  Which is sort of “not a real problem”, but as a mama heavily invested in memory-making moments, it feels like a real problem right now. My phone is not working (at all), which is a “pwoblem” because, while expensive, at least there is a solution. I’m having a hard time stomaching the...

Read More

A beautiful week

Sep 19

A beautiful week

I’m back in the chemo chair today, and praying over the treatment, my loved ones, and plans for the future.  I am neutropenic, which means that I am immuno-compromised and susceptible to illness.  Nonetheless, life goes on.  In forty-eight hours last week I went to the pediatric office twice: once for each kid.  Greta came home sick from school on Tuesday with strep throat, and subsequently spent the first 24-hours (the contagious window) with Chief Sister and the Rozzinator.  Maren has been to the pediatrician four times in six weeks, and on two rounds of different antibiotics.  She’s not sick enough to miss activities or school, but she has a troublesome cough and lacks some of the skip in her step.  I took her in to rule out walking pneumonia (per our third visit to the pediatrian two weeks ago), and her doctor thinks her current symptoms are just another virus.  Please pray that we can *all* get healthy and stay healthy! Greta missed the bus for the first time.  Maren was late to school for the first time.  Supermom (not)! Meanwhile as we crisscross our town I realize I have moved from the “rugrats underfoot” stage of parenting to the “eat in the car” phase of parenting.  There are more glamorous ways to put it, but I think you get the idea.  I love the phase we are in. We drive around town rocking out to our “sing-along” playlist, and Greta wants to know why Adele sings about green beans.  Maren and I dissolved into giggles as Greta belted out “green bean” in place of the real words.  We are part of a big volleyball carpool that treks around our town, and Brad has earned the “fun car” title because of his playlist in his car.  All of the fourth graders think he is the fun one, so obviously I need to up my musical game. Greta is full of gumption.  She’ll say, “I want a strawberry, please.” “No, G.  No snacks before mealtime.” “Well, I just want one bite of a strawberry.  Please,” eyelashes batting away. Leveling my mom gaze at her: “Nope.” “Well, I just want to give you a kiss.” And I simultaneously inwardly laugh and cry as she flounces over and plants...

Read More

Oh, the giggles!

Sep 12

Oh, the giggles!

Super Fun Dad Brad suggested that we go to the pool last night since it was the last night the pool was open.  I was not feeling like it as I am working on projects and the temperature was in the seventies.  However, Maren asked me to go “for a fun family swim,” and I could not say no to that!  She gave me a big dimpled grin and a hug as she said thank you; it was a tender moment.  Tenderheart is a good word to describe her these days: she has an intense desire to please and views the world with unusually compassionate eyes. Since I am more of a hot-weather-only swimmer, I had to rally myself to get in the water last night.  I launched in with a mighty cannonball, played pool games with the kids, and was so grateful to Brad and Maren for making a memory moment for us.  It was a hoot, and a great way to end the summer. Greta, after the pool last night: “Mom, do you know what a problem solver is?” Me: “Yes G.  Why?” Greta: “Do you know that I am a problem solver at my school?” Me: “I did not know that Greta, but that is awesome!  I am proud of you.”  ::pause::  “Do you know that I have a problem?” Greta, eyes wide: “What is your problem Mom?” Me, deadpan: “My little girl does not want to clean her room.” Greta:  ::Takes off running pellmell for her room.:: Me: Winning!  Thanks Miss E!  We love school! Locals: tomorrow is Lakota West’s annual Volley for the Cure.  We’ll be there and would love to see you.  Details...

Read More

A good week

Sep 07

My most profound clue that I was feeling really good today was that I found myself taking everything out of my refrigerator and wiping down all the shelves and walls.  Halfway through I was like, what am I doing?  When did I decide to clean the fridge?  Yes, I accidentally cleaned my fridge today and had a profound moment while doing so. This is my “good week”.  I’m off chemo this week (we’re trying for a 3-weeks-on, 1-week-off cycle if my blood counts will hold up for that schedule).  I wouldn’t say I’m wildly energetic (and I did just wake up from a nap), but still — a noticeable bump in the positive direction this week is a nice thing for me.   With my good week, I’m hoping I can impact more than my fridge for the better. One of the first emotions I felt as I acclimated to becoming a member of the cancer community in 2012 was guilt. Surprising, right?  It surprised me too. Breast cancer and pink ribbons are so — dare I say — obnoxiously omnipresent that I felt guilty I had a popular, well-known cancer as I continually met (and continue to meet) people with lesser known diseases.  (As the years have passed, I’ve come to learn that there are many prevalent myths about breast cancer in society, especially about metastatic/Stage IV breast cancer, but that is not the focus on my mind today.  I will likely address that topic in October.)  Suffering from an “unknown” or less common disease, I’ve learned, makes the patient/family feel lonely and invisible in society.  So, when it makes sense, I try to support non-breast-cancer charities/causes if for no other reason than to show people I know that I care and to help them spread awareness about their condition.  I show support in various capacities: sometimes with my presence or dollars, other times with my attention or voice. September is childhood cancer month, and the ribbon is gold.  In the time that I’ve been a breast cancer patient, I’ve seen children (children!) endure cancer treatment, and it is an entirely different point of view.  Several near to my heart have died.  Several are in treatment now.  Several are in...

Read More

A surprise to remember

Aug 29

Last week, two of my friends asked if they could take me out to lunch for my birthday.  I checked it with Brad because that’s how we roll, and he gave me the nod and the high-five to go and have fun.  Woo!  I told my friends that this doesn’t need to be about my birthday, but that I’m excited to hang out! They picked me up at 11:30 Saturday and one picked one of the big brew pubs downtown to eat at.  Great! Good drinks, good food, good river views, good friends.  Life is good.  We drove downtown in her convertible with the top up because it was melting-hot.  We parked underground and by the time we got to the restaurant I was woozy from the heat, but I recovered quickly.  We had a good lunch: real questions, real answers, good advice, and all the things.  And I had framboise (raspberry beer) which is one of my favorite summer drinks that is hard to come by on a menu.  Winning all around! We got in the car to head back, and between the hot (melting hot) walk to the car, the smelly parking garage, and the stop-start of the downtown traffic, I was feeling my wooziness again and it was escalating to ugh-iness.  I leaned back in the backseat of the car and, though mentally refreshed and energized by the lunch with my friends, physically I was not feeling well at all.  I sent Brad a text from the backseat: “We are on our way back.  I am not feeling too well.  I would like to nap (instead of swim) when I get home if that’s ok.”  (I had told him that I would take the kids to the pool when I got home.)  As we eased our way home along the highway, the heavens opened and we had the biggest rainstorm I’ve seen in a long time.  There were several areas of the road that were covered in four to six inches of water and it was cause for some white-knuckle driving. Unbeknownst to me, Brad has been planning a surprise party for me for two weeks.  He started his day off by getting up early and covertly...

Read More