Focusing in

Mar 31

I’m loving Maren at this age for many reasons.  One of them is that she is just now hitting the age where her memories last.  I mostly know this because I think back to my own childhood memories: I remember making friendship bracelets, reading Judy Blume, making mud pies and flower petal perfume, adoring my Kirsten American Girl doll, and other little-girl pleasures.  I watch Maren doing these things and I am delighted because it brings my own happy memories rushing back, and I know the fun imprint all these things are making on her. She lost a tooth in the restaurant last night, so we tucked it into the coin purse of my wallet and wondered if the New York Tooth Fairy would visit us, or whether the Cincinnati Tooth Fairy would make the trip.  She was so tired last night that we both forgot about the tooth, but she was delighted when we found my wallet open and a dollar bill sticking out of the coin purse when she woke this morning.  She was bedazzled that even though she “broke protocol” by not having the tooth under the pillow, the Tooth Fairy still came.  She may or may not have made the comment that the New York City T.F. is a lot more on top of her game than the Cincinnati T.F.  For the record, she’s right; the Cincinnati T.F. is a lot more distracted. Today marks the 3-week cycle day where I should be in the chemo room.  For the past eighteen weeks, I have been frenetic on this Monday evening: amped up on steroids, a weird taste in my mouth, and busy-busy-busy as I anticipate the slide that is to follow in the 72 hours after treatment.  As much as I value the time that I spend in the chemo room–it is life-giving in more ways than one–I was delighted to not be there today. Instead, today I lifted my face to the sun, held the hand of my favorite six-year-old, and soared through New York City.  Today felt like spring: the birth of new life and hope.  After a fun and busy couple of days, we took a break tonight to recharge: we got...

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Through her eyes

Mar 30

Through her eyes

    Do you know what I love? Watching her see the...

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A love-venture

Mar 29

A love-venture

      So I’m in New York City for my adventure with Maren.  It’s just she and I for the week until Brad joins us for the last few days.  Greta is not coming with us because I just don’t think she would enjoy it.  And, to be very honest, hauling a potty-training two-year-old around an unfamiliar city would make things a lot less fun for me.  So this week I have to settle for missing her tremendously and planning a special Mommy-Greta trip where she will get her own special time. I’m actually not much of a city girl.  Beaches are more my scene, though I’ve clocked a lot of enjoyable lake time as a midwestern girl so perhaps my magical combination is water and warmth.  When trip-planning season popped up in November/December, Dr. Wonderful gently steered me away from the beach/sun idea.  Some of the drugs I’m on make me extra sun-sensitive, which is comical because I’m already a pink-skinned redhead.  I also have lingering toe and nail issues which are incompatible with sand.  Once surf and sand were off the list, it was a head-scratcher for me to decide where to go with Maren; our timing was dictated by her spring break.  I settled on NYC because it’s outside my box, but full of promise and adventure.  I find that whenever I do something risky and even a little uncomfortable, it always ends up being pretty stinking awesome. In almost every married couple I know, there is a Trip Planner and a Go Along For the Ride-er.  I’m the Go Along Girl in my marriage, and Brad is a masterful planner.  This isn’t even “his trip”, and he still found me the perfect hotel, great ideas of what to do, and streamlined our logistics.  My guy is amazing; I really don’t know what I would do without him.  (I might still be at Newark airport studying maps of transit systems.) Maren and I had a great day today.  As we were traipsing through the sea of umbrellas in Times Square she looked up at me with wide eyes and said, “This is so different.”   The people, the buildings, the lights, the honking, the smells,...

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First day of long-term treatment plan

Mar 27

First day of long-term treatment plan

I’m in the chemo infusion chair today.  I’m sitting in a recliner and savoring this time of forced quietude to reflect.  Due to my upcoming trip with Maren, I had to change up my oncology office scheduling and I’m being treated at a different office on a Thursday.  It’s weird.  I don’t know the other patients here, and the chairs are much further apart, making conversation a little awkward.  I’m seeing nurses and staff whom  I haven’t seen regularly since almost two years ago when I went through my first round of chemo.  It’s nice to reconnect with them, but I’m also missing the vibe of the Chemo Mondays at my regular office.  However, this office has recliners with heaters in the back and seat which is pretty divine… it’s the little things, right? As I type, I’m getting Herceptin and Perjeta via my port.  They are the two targeted therapy drugs, also called biological drugs: they only target cancer cells.  Chemotherapy drugs, on the other hand–like the Taxotere rainbow I just completed, target all cells which accounts for the many side effects of chemo.  Herceptin and Perjeta are very tolerable and my quality of life should be really great on these two drugs.  Dr. Wonderful is also adding another drug called Faslodex which is hormone therapy drug: it keeps cancer from feeding off estrogen.  Faslodex is administered via a shot.  I’ll continue coming to the oncology office every three weeks for these infusions/shot and for Dr. Wonderful to keep an eye on me.   Today he gave me a bunch of suggestions for things to do and see in NYC; I know things are looking great when Dr. Wonderful doesn’t have anything to say about cancer, and lots to say about the good things in life. Now we all just need to pray that God and these drugs keep any cancer from growing so that I can live out the next 47+ years.  I’ll be scanned every three months, and I’m going to work hard on not focusing on the scan timeline.  It is tempting to live life in three month increments, and I get sucked into that mindset.  However, I don’t think God wants me to live on...

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Two Years

Mar 19

Today is my two year cancerversary.  It’s been two years since that life-changing day I was diagnosed.  I went home that night and became a writer when I wrote my first cancer post at 4:30 in the morning.  What a journey it has been. Today I hold in my hand a fresh-off-the-presses golden ticket: yesterday’s clean PET scan report.  My cancer is in remission.  This, my friends, is the science-y paperwork proof of my God-orchestrated miracle. I believe in God — and miracles — now more than ever.  Remember I’ve had cancer (or suspected cancer) in my left breast, right breast, lymph nodes, liver, spine and lung over these past two years.  That is a whole lotta cancer, people. And right now I have No Evidence of Disease. It is a straight up miracle: I just don’t see any other way to see it.  Some spots, like the lung spot, were cut out and weighed and measured in a lab.  Other spots, like my spine spot, were seared with God’s finger and simply disappeared.  It is not lost on me that it is possible to cut a wedge out of the lung, and impossible to remove a vertebrae.  My miracles feel purposeful and designed. I don’t know why God allowed me to have cancer.  I don’t know why God allows me now to be cancer-free.  Truth is, I don’t really care why.  I do know I will Do Today Well both because of and in spite of my miracle.  Because Doing Today Well is about checking circumstances at the door and just doing it well, whatever it may be. Our celebrations last night were small.  The girls and I WOoo HOOOed in the car as I explained to them the day’s happenings.  Brad bought me a happy piece of art for our wall: a scene that reminds us both of our honeymoon. When I was first diagnosed, I asked — begged — God for fifty more years to spend raising my babies (at four-years-old and ten-months-old they were indeed babies!)  I also resolved to Do Today Well and make the most of whatever time I have.  It’s a delicate balance: hoping for the best and living for today; Brad...

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