Best decision of my life

Dec 31

Best decision of my life

10 years ago tonight, Brad and I said, “I do.” Best decision of my life. (He is really an amazing man.) One of the best pieces of pre-wedding advice I received was to stop as often as I could remember — at least every half hour or so — and really look and remember what is going on.  In essence, the advice was to take a mental picture every thirty minutes as the day/evening progressed.  Thanks to that advice, I have a series of memories that are full and detailed about my wedding day. I remember waking in the morning and having breakfast with my family. I remember walking out of the salon into the sunny, 50 degree weather, and the wind took my veil and swirled it into the air. I remember seeing Brad in the balcony before our pictures.  I remember laughing with him and the way my cheek felt on his tuxedo-clad chest. I remember laughing and telling stories with my girlfriends in the bridal room while we listened to guests arrive. I remember my mom doing up the back of my dress. I remember the look on my dad’s face as we stood waiting to go down the aisle. I remember looking at our pastor, our friend, as he spoke to our gathered guests. I remember the faces and the hugs and the perma-smile I sported that night as I greeted everyone I love. I remember the toasts: the planned and the impromptu speeches, the cheers and the big toast at midnight. I remember dancing with my sisters. I remember leaving hand-in-hand with Brad, so sad it was over, but so happy that it was really just the beginning. I remember, and there’s not a thing I would change about that night. I love you Bradley James Anderson.  To the moon and...

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Bold and fancy and fabulous

Dec 27

Bold and fancy and fabulous

When I look at pictures of myself, I’m drawn instantly back to the feeling I had when the photo was snapped. This one is one of my all time favorites. Today I’m telling the story of my happiness: The setting is the lobby of the theater before the Nutcracker ballet just a few days ago.  Brad and I made our first trip back to this performance after eleven years. In 2002, after the impromptu dinner date, Brad invited me to go to the Nutcracker.  It was a bold and fancy second date.  I was not a girl used to bold or fancy; I had been waiting for bold and fancy.  When I told my Mom I had a date and he was taking me to the ballet, she admits she fell in love with him right in that minute.  As Dad has slept through many an arts performance (while dutifully at her side), she was bedazzled before I was at the prospect of a man who appreciated the arts.  At the time, I was a high school teacher.  The ballet date was on a school night.  I had Baby Sister, who was still in high school, go through her closet and my closet at “home”–home still being Mom and Dad’s house–to find the perfect outfit.  I was frustrated that my tall roommate–the only one of the six I could really share clothes with–had moved to California.  All these years later, that’s how I remember I was really excited about the date: I really wanted to wear something that made me feel fabulous.  It was so very girlie of me, and I’m not often so girlie.  I ended up in a floor length brown velvet skirt that flared out around me when I moved; it was indeed fabulous.  It was also bold and fancy–out of my comfort zone, but so very worth the risk.  I remember holding Brad’s hand that night and my skirt swishing around me as we navigated the steps of the old theater and found our seats.  I remember the breath of anticipation that blew through the evening.  I was smitten by both the whimsy of the dance and the dimension of the man beside me.  The...

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Coming out from under

Dec 25

Merry Christmas! What’s been happening: – Orange Chemo left me feeling weak and shakey.  Every time I saw a couch or a bed or a chair, I felt the almost-irresistable urge to stop what I was doing and melt into it.  I wanted to curl up and rest and relax.  For the most part, I did a lot of just that: rest, relax, sleep.  My support team is really amazing in allowing me the freedom to just be me. – I haven’t done anything productive aside from absolute essentials since early last week.  This time even email was too much to keep up with, and I couldn’t muster the energy to write.  It’s going to take me a while to dig out from under the To Do list.  First I have to write the To Do list.  Oy. – I had fun at all my key fun events that occurred during the slide.  Brad and I shared long, lingering meals with fun conversation with friends.  We prepared Christmas Magic for our kids, who — at 2 and 6 — are in their prime magic years.  We went to the Nutcracker Ballet as a family and it was spectacular.  During the slide, I can time my medications and energy to be prime for a 3-4 hour window as long as I rest before and after.  It works–I’m grateful for those hours, and the hours of rest. – I began to bounce out of Chemo Funk at 9pm Monday night–it was strange to all of a sudden have energy and feel like myself again.  It was almost like a light switch turning on. – Christmas Eve was a great day–I felt mostly normal.  Although, I am feeling a basic level of de-conditioning; spending a week in a hospital bed (after my lung surgery in November) took away a lot of my conditioning.  Two chemo treatments and another surgery haven’t exactly allowed me to build back strength.  I’m going to try to make a point to do some walking for exercise over the next two weeks–quite different from my 2012 chemo, where I ran 2-4x/week throughout. – I woke up Christmas Day with what was either a short but intense flu or...

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The Orange Slide

Dec 18

I had Brad stop on the way home from work the other day to pick up duct tape.  For my head.  Because when you buzz your hair after chemo, the tiny little buzzed hairs are itchy, but they don’t fall out all that easily.  Another chemo patient last time around told me that she used to place strips of duct tape over her head and peel them off.  Voila!  All those little hairs peel right off too.  So, Brad and I spend some time duct-taping my head every other evening or so.  You know, how do you and your hubs spend Wednesday nights?  🙂  My head is now looking rather patchy and mangy, but I keep a hat on most of the time anyway, because — hello — it is freezing! I took my last steroid pill for this cycle tonight, which means I’ll probably start the slide tomorrow.  So far, I’ve really been doing quite well, aided significantly by the fact that one or both of my sisters have been here around the clock.  I’ve been able to busy myself preparing the last of Christmas stuff, tidying up, writing thank-you’s, while they take on the never-ending household toiling.  My laundry is done.  Meals have been coming at a steady stream, and it is such a blessing to have dinner magically appear.  (Cancer perk alert!)  Tonight/tomorrow NanaRoz swoops in for her shift, and Brad will do the heavy-lifting with responsibilities this weekend. I am preparing to sleep, and rest, and be quiet, and read, and watch TV/movies.  I know that my family is in good hands.  I have a few key fun activities lined up through the weekend: dinner with friends, the Nutcracker ballet, and I feel confident I will be able to manage my energy and my medicine so that I will have fun and will thoroughly enjoy the experiences.  As I am The Sick One, our schedules are planned around me.  But, happily, I really don’t feel like The Sick One.  I feel like me; and I feel like I have been given the grace and love to just do what I need to do.  There are no expectations on me.  It is freeing in a way....

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Happy Orange

Dec 17

Happy Orange

I’m buzzing on my steroid high tonight.  Since this is my second time at the rodeo chemo, I’m sort of in the know when it comes to chemo tips and tricks.  Being an experienced chemo patient was not on the bucket list, but it does have it’s perks. Last time, it took me many, many rounds of chemo before I realized that on treatment day, I wouldn’t fall asleep until the wee hours of the morning.  This was an insightful revelation: instead of spending those frustrating hours in bed tossing and turning and staring at the ceiling, I learned to embrace the energy that the steroids give me, and to make use of the time.  Energy is a valuable commodity for me when I’m a chemo patient, so it is nice to have a block of time where I know I can get a lot of things done.  The fact that it also comes at a time when the rest of my family is asleep practically guarantees that it will be productive time. I had a really enjoyable day today in the Chemo Room.  I was there from 10:40 to 4:45, and sat next to a really nice group of chatty ladies.  Conversation was easy and light and hopeful.  Since I can’t drive due to my recent surgery, I was gifted rides to and from Chemo.  It made the day that much better to have such love on the bookends. I was practically assaulted in orange all day long: you with your orange highlighters, orange juice and orange clothing.  I was especially entertained by the orange-clothed folk who had to dredge their closets for old Halloween wear or not-really-seasonally-appropriate sports wear.  Highly amusing for this girl, I tell you!  I am easy to please! I was gifted my orange attire, lucky-for-me, as orange is not, shall we say, a staple in this redhead’s wardrobe: shirt from my favorite stored, necklace, scarf, hat, and socks. And here’s the orange awesomeness that I encountered today: An orange feast: A team of Diva’s who brought in delectable homemade orange treats that were enjoyed by all the patients in the Chemo Room.  It injected a great deal of conversation and fun into the...

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