Jul 25

As of this spring, my wardrobe was a sorry state of affairs.  For the past six years, I have not had an outside-the-house job.  My needs have been minimal.  I’m practical and frugal, so it didn’t make sense to me to spend lots of money on short-term clothes.  Over those years, I have gained and lost weight.  I’ve had four pregnancies; (yes, I had two miscarriages).  Easy, washable, and comfortable have been the priorities as I went about my mom jobs and my mom life.  I was hesitant to get rid of anything because I wasn’t sure what would fit when the next season change came.  I had one “date night” outfit per season, and the rest of my wardrobe was very basic. Over the winter, I got within range of what I consider to be my “normal” weight.  In early spring, the answer to, “Will we have more children?” was answered very abruptly with my cancer diagnosis:  “No, we will  not.”  We will love the two we have and we will be grateful for each day with them.  These two factors put me in a position where I felt it wasn’t frivolous to put together a (small, modest) wardrobe that would make me feel confident and appropriate in my everyday life. This spring, I was in desperate need of some new clothing pieces with the goal being about ten workable outfits for the spring/summer.  In late March and early April, I found myself gravitating towards dresses.  For one, it seemed simpler to find one piece: a dress.  With all of the logistics I had going on, this seemed easier than finding two pieces that both matched and complimented me.  My spring/summer wardrobe is now eighty percent dresses.  They are easy, they are comfortable, and they are forgiving of my imperfect figure.  For the most part I feel pretty confident.  Another part of my brain, I think, recognized that I have no hair, I have terrible acne from the chemo, I’m unable to work out with the rigor and frequency that I would like, and soon I will have a bilateral mastectomy. I think I’m wearing a lot of dresses because, on some level, I want to amp up...

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Down Under

Jul 24

I’ve mentioned here before that my mom is Australian.  Her whole side of the family lives Down Under.  My grandmother, four sets of aunts and uncles, and eight cousins live there.  Brad and I got married in 2003, but our wedding “season” wasn’t over for another eighteen months, because that was when we went to Australia together so that he could meet the rest of the family. There are a lot of miles between us, but no distance at all.  We are a close family. For the past several years, I have been saving money.  Steadily, hopefully, patiently.  It’s important to me that my girls feel the connection to our Australian family the way that I do.  My parents worked really, really hard to allow us to know the Aussie family and travel there.  All of the Aussies have likewise made trips here, also.  It is important to me that Maren and Greta know the family, the love, that is on the other side of the world.  There are a whole bunch of crazy-awesome people over there who love us fiercely. We are supposed to be there, in Australia, right now.  I used the hard-saved money and I booked flights in January so that Greta could meet her great-grandmother. I haven’t allowed cancer to take much away from me.  One thing that did get taken away with my diagnosis, though, is our trip to Australia.  I had to cancel airplane tickets because I got cancer, and I have to stay here while I am undergoing treatment.  It is a kick in the gut.  It’s not just me: it’s a kick for everyone who was anticipating our visit.  It’s like canceling the really big Christmas that only happens once every few years when everyone is together. Honestly?  The whole cancelled-trip-to-Australia thing is painful.  I’m really, really sad for me, for Maren and Greta, and for my grandmother and all our relatives there.  It’s not about the exotic and wonderful country, or sight-seeing, or vacation.  It’s the family and laughter and togetherness.  We just happen to have to travel thousands of miles to get it. I am hopeful that I will get to plan another trip.  I am good at being...

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Chemo musings

Jul 19

I am very much in the rhythm of my new cancer normal, and a big part of my routine is chemo. Maren and Greta go to Phenom’s house.  I think they think it is summer camp.  They love it. I’ve had to take a running hiatus for the last two week: I have an infection in my toe that is exacerbated when I run.  Darn toe.  After two courses of antibiotics, I think it is finally is cleared up, so I’m planning a stroller-free run on Saturday morning. I make a smoothie and/or sludge to drink while I clean up, deal with my piles, and make lists. I have learned that trees on the southwest side of the parking lot at my chemo office will shade my car in the afternoon.  Since my A/C is on the fritz (it only quits completely if it is parked in the sun and/or if the temp is over ninety-five degrees), I always park in the shady spots. Several weeks ago, I asked if I really needed the Benadryl as part of my pre-med regimen.  The Benadryl was prescribed in case of a potential allergic reaction to my current chemo drug, which happens a lot.  However, when I hadn’t had any allergic reaction and I’d had the drug four or five times, they were willing to take it out of the pre-meds.  So, I no longer suffer the Benadryl zonk, and I am usually too busy talking during chemo to take a nap. Now, after more than a dozen port access’, I barely feel the needle stick going into my port.  I love my port.  The nurses use it to both draw blood and administer drugs; it makes the whole process simple.  Incidentally, Maren also loves my port.  She is fascinated, as only a five-year-old can be. I am proficient at traversing the Chemo Room and the office while pushing my IV pole.  Trust me, it is an acquired skill. I have new friends: the staff, the nurses, the techs, the doctors, and the patients form an odd, but tight, community.  I know the cheerful receptionist by name, I know the co-pay collector by name, I know most of the BP/pulse/temperature reading nurses by...

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Mom’s Daily Report

Jul 18

I am sitting in Mom’s hospital room with my family: the original five were all here together, but Chief just left to go back to work, and I am leaving for chemo in a few minutes. Mom is great: her eyes are bright and focused, and she still very much our Rozzer.  She is sitting up in a chair, she is talking, drinking, and delving into the (many, many) goodies that friends and family have left in her room.  Literally, there are no flat surfaces left in the room because they are filled with gifts–mostly from her hospital friends.  She is beloved!  There have been a constant flow of visitors to the room, and even the CEO of the hospital has been in for a personal visit.  VIP indeed! Her chief complaint is dry mouth; her pain is managed with a push-button.  She is using her arms and sitting comfortably.  Goals for the day include two walks around the floor, and to eat.  Ambitious!  Dad and Baby Sister will be here with her for most of the day. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers; we appreciate them so very much!...

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Mom’s VIP Room

Jul 17

I got a speaker phone call from Dad, Mom, and Chief Sister from the hospital room.  Mom is talking, and talking coherently.  She says that the drugs are fabulous, and she was making jokes.  She really sounded good, and Chief and Dad seemed surprised at how “with it” she was.  Dad filled her in on her OR antics, and she is pleased with the big picture: everything went smoothly and her prognosis is good. The Rozzer has been given the largest room on the floor, which has a great view of downtown Cincinnati.  It is the room that they give the VIPs who come in as patients.  If the Reds get a home run or win tonight, she will get a fireworks display!  Already she has three flower arrangements, two edible bouquets, two bunches of balloons, a couple of banners, and some other fun goodies.  She might need a moving van when she checks out!  All her friends from the floor are fighting over who gets to take care of her, and she is in great hands. Dr. B-cup will be making rounds late-morning tomorrow.  Dad will go home tonight and head back in the morning.  I’ll probably swing by the hospital for a quick visit before lunch tomorrow on my way to chemo.  This is probably the last update of the day, so assume no news is good news from this point.  I’ll blog tomorrow as soon as I have both an update and a wifi connection. We are celebrating that Mom’s cancer bits are now safely out, and she can focus on the next steps towards her long and happy future. Thank you God, and Go...

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