Thumb holes and fancy tights

Jul 31

We have had a very unseasonable cold snap come through our area over the past week.  Normally, July means long pool days, prayers of gratitude for air conditioning, and choking on the heat when I climb into my hot car.  This cold snap has dropped the temperature 20-30 degrees and created some marvelous outdoor weather.  It is too cold for the pool (at least for the girls and I–we are wimps).  It feels like an Australian winter day in the area where my family lives (Brisbane/Sunshine Coast, if you are familiar).  Brad, with his Wisconsin blood, would probably still brave the water if the girls asked him to (he’ll do anything the girls ask him to).  Instead of the pool, we’ve explored new playgrounds and gone for hikes.  Our schedule has been jam-packed with fun activities; a stark contrast from last year where we had very little on the calendar so that we could accommodate how I was feeling on any given day. As we’ve reached for sweatshirts and jackets this week (in July!), I have noticed that Maren’s wrists are hanging out.  She needs some new layers.  My big six-year-old has opinions about her clothes these days: she still loves dresses and skirts, and anything else is unpredictable.  We wandered through the big girl section (size 7-16) at one of the big stores last week, and I was so sad.  Gone are the polka-dots, whimsy, and bright colors.  In their place is lacey trim, questionable wording like “Shake it” and “I’m faux real”, and an aesthetic that, quite honestly, makes me sad that little girls are growing up too fast.  I fully admit that I am conservative and perhaps even prude-ish when it comes to clothing, but I’m taking advantage of the years where I’m in the driver’s seat for clothes to start from a modest baseline.  Soon, I know, she will have opinions and want to express herself–clothes are only going to get harder around here. On the way home I asked her, “Maren, what kind of things do you think you will want to wear to first grade?” She said thoughtfully, “Well, I think I mostly still want to wear dresses and skirts.” I asked, “What...

Read More

Referred blessings

Jul 25

A few months ago, I got an email from a sweet girl who “referred” me to her college girlfriend–a Cincinnatian who had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.  I was able to get in touch with the patient, and I was able to give her a thorough de-briefing about the ins and outs of being a breast cancer patient.  It was a great conversation, and I hung up the phone feeling like I’d made a new friend. Yesterday, my mom was at work, caring for a patient who had a bilateral mastectomies.  Nurse Roz was telling her all the relevant information, and eventually, the patient commented, “You seem very knowledgable.” Mom’s reply was, “Well, I had the same surgery  a year and a week ago, so I feel very able to care for you.  Have you talked to anyone about the impact of surgery?” The patient said, “Yes, I have a connection and got some information.” Before long, the two of them figure out that Mom, aka Nurse Roz, is actually the Rozzinator, and that this is the Cincinnatian whom I’d spoken with on the phone many weeks ago, and that I am her “connection”. Isn’t it amazing to see how God orchestrates these meetings so that we can be blessed: the patient was blessed, the friend who referred us to each other was blessed, my mom was blessed, and I was blessed.  I love this!   Another new friend was referred to me in the spring by my cousin.  A young mom in another city was diagnosed with breast cancer, and to date, I’m the only been-there-done-that friend she’s “met” through the course of treatment (ironically, we haven’t even met in person yet!  We will in September: she’s coming for the Komen race.)  Her Chemo Room is a series of private suites, which sounds pleasant enough, but I’ve come to believe that it’s the people in the chairs around me that promote the power of the healing in that room.  Her experience, alone in a room, has been markedly different from mine.  I’ve prayed for her throughout her arduous chemo #1, her mastectomy surgery, and chemo ordeal #2.  (Yep, you read that right: two chemo’s cycles.  Yikes.)  Her...

Read More

The Woo Gene

Jul 24

Did you know there is a genetic predisposition to shriek with glee? It’s true. It’s called the Woo Gene.  Or rather, the WOOOOO HOOOOO gene. Almost everyone on my mom’s side of the family is afflicted with it.  It means that when a person is affected, they will spontaneously flail, jump up and down like a banshee, and shriek “WOOOOO” when they are excited.  I’ve had lots of opportunity to observe this tendency, since my mom’s side of the family gets excited every time we see them.  Granted, they all live in Australia, so reunions are a big deal.  And trust me, everyone in the vicinity is highly aware of the reunion, the commotion, and the Woo Gene. Greta has the Woo Gene. Maren has learned how to ride her two-wheeler this spring/summer.  Greta witnessed much of the learning and cheering and coaching and encouraging that went on during the relatively short period of time it took Maren to get the hang of it. As a result, Greta runs behind Maren every time Maren goes for a bike ride.  She also claps wildly and enthusiastically.  While running.  It’s amazing she doesn’t wipe out. She abandons her own bike, or scooter, or doll stroller. She runs, and she claps, and she shouts and the top of her lungs, “Go Maren!  Yaaaaay Maren!  WOOOO HOOOO Maren!”  This continues for the duration of the bike ride, though if Maren gets too far ahead of us, Greta takes a break.  All that cheering is exhausting. It’s amusing if you can imagine it: this little pipsqueak frantically running and clapping  down the sidewalk cheering avidly for her big sister’s accomplishment. Today while riding bikes at the park, she did the same thing to her little friends.  She kept turning to me and saying, “Wook Mom!  He/She’s doing it!  Goooooo (insert-friend’s-name-here)!!  Woooooo!” I love Greta’s enthusiasm  and passion.  I’m sure all of the local bike riders appreciate the support.  I love that she got the Woo Gene. (Other carriers of the Woo Gene: you know who you are.  If you’re not sure, ask your children (my cousins).  They’ll tell you the...

Read More

Mondays

Jul 21

On Mondays I make my weekly pilgrimage to Dr. Wonderful’s oncology office.  I get a weekly infusion of the biological drug Herceptin through my port.  The plan is for this to continue “indefinitely”.  Dr. Wonderful has me on a short list of patients who are high maintenance with cancer prevention, so there are no plans for my Monday schedule to change.  I’m quite happy with this… I’m a fan of cancer-killing medicine.  The girls go to Phenom’s house or for playdates on Mondays while I am at my appointments. I am a veteran of the Chemo Room. I have sat in every one of the ten recliners that circle the room at one time or another.  I’ve also sat on a wheelie stool on very busy days. I know where the blankets are stored if the blanket warmer is empty. I know where the snacks and drinks are kept. I know how to speed up or slow down the IV drips so that they flow at the desired rate.  (Though the nurses don’t like me to mess with them.) I know which elderly patients are wobbly and need “spotting” when they stand up. I often get a wink/nod from one of the nurses when I enter the room, indicating a patient (usually a newbie) whom I should sit next to.  I am a good been-there-done-that person that newbies can ask questions.  I like to share my Chemo Room, and my experience with people. I’m an expert at walking with an IV pole hooked up to my port. I can recognize an allergic reaction (happens once a month while I’m there) and am good at flagging down the nurses quickly.  I’ve never had a reaction, but they are common. I see my mom in the Chemo Room every third week when she shows up for her treatment.  Tomorrow is her last treatment: graduation day!) I embrace the slow pace of the Chemo Room.  No one is ever hurried, busy or rushed.  It is refreshing. I am grateful for the peace-of-mind I have as a result of my weekly pilgrimage: cancer-killing medicine is being pumped into my veins weekly.  I love cancer-killing medicine. I trust Dr. Wonderful and his staff.  I...

Read More

A new site

Jul 21

My friend KDesign has hooked me up.  She took my little corner of the Internet and made it a lot more me.  I’m incredibly grateful for her talent, insight, patience, generosity and creativity through the process.  My new website is dotodaywell.com, and I am so happy to have a personalized site.  I feel so fancy! I’ve got a lot of writing that has been marinating in my head.  I’ve got a feeling posts are going to be regular again, at least I hope so.  I am so grateful for all I have been given; thank you for being a part of this little life of mine....

Read More