Status update

Jun 27

This month Dr. Wonderful has ordered three separate blood tests on me: a cell search, tumor markers, and a chemistry panel. …All of my tests came back normal.  Normal, people, is code for boring. Medically boring: yippee!!! Since all of the evidence coming back indicates that everything is normal, Dr. Wonderful thinks we will do a scan “in the fall.”  I know better than to try to nail him down on details: we will thoroughly assess and evaluate every three weeks between now and then as I go in for my current treatment/drugs.  If a new symptom/pain/issue pops up, then we will test and evaluate it. As I sit in the exam room with Dr. Wonderful and we discuss the results, he asks if I have any questions.  I  say, “Nope.  I love normal results.  Medically boring is something I pray about; I want to be boring.”  As he makes notes on the computer, I swing my feet at the end of the exam table and I give thanks to God for this gift. It’s hard to articulate the weight of this news.  Being “boring” doesn’t lend itself to jumping around and screeching with joy.  The inactivity that follows normal test results is a deeply drawn breath; inhale, exhale: peace.  It’s a stark contrast to the frenetic activity that would commence if the tests came back with anomalies.  Following the “what if” trail leads me down a path of trading in my swim suit for hospital bracelets, lazy summer days with rushing around to tests and appointments, quelling the Worry Monster with a chainsaw instead of a fly swatter. It’s a big freaking difference.  (And note I don’t choose to play the “what if” game.) I’m grateful for normal.  This blessing prompts me to raise my hands and count off my blessings on my fingers until I run out of fingers, and then toes, and it begins to sink in that the blessings in my life are innumerable.  I. Am. Grateful. It has been a tricky few weeks for me.  I’ve had to work realllllly hard at my mission: Do Today Well.  Jealous Jen reared her ugly head which is annoying because being snarky and jealous makes me feel...

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She’s all in

Jun 22

She’s all in

Greta came over to me at the pool with a pouty face.  She had her arms crossed, stomped her feet, and a mega scowl, “Mommy!  My fwiend took my bucket.”  She held this pose of outrage while she waited me to save her from the worst atrocity in the world. Me, in my exaggerated happy nonchalant voice: “No problem G; it’s good to give her a turn.  I think I have another bucket in the bag right there–go check.” Greta skulks over to the bag and roots around to find a small pink bucket.  She clasps it over her head as if it were a trophy and squeals, “A bucket!!!  YESSSS!!!!”  She then runs over to her friend: “Wook fwiend!  I have a bucket too!!!  Now we can bowf pway pouring!”  It became the greatest moment of victory in the world. My friend turned to me and said, “Greta really only has two speeds.” I laughed, and agreed.  That’s G. Here she is after receiving art from her friend in the mail.  That’s totally what you do when you get mail, right? Here’s the evidence after she swiped all of her birthday thank-yous and opened them all because she loves mail.  And this is why I never get anything actually checked off my list(s).  Womp, womp. Here she is being perfectly delightful on the sidelines of Maren’s activities.  She’s a pretty fun side kick most days.   (Not pictured is the day that she threw an 84 minute fit in the parking lot outside the pool.  Not the best day, for either of us.  The silver lining was that this very public tantrum lead to a lot of fist pumps of solidarity from every mother passing through the parking lot that day.  Fist pumps helped.  We’ve all been-there-done-that.) The little scene was so Greta.  She spent ten minutes “weading Mawen’s book”.  When I asked her why… “Because it has chapters.”  Obviously, right?   She’s three.  She’s adorable and obnoxious, but even her obnoxiousness is hilarious. I’m lucky to be her Mama.  I love that she’s all in: she feels big, she loves big, she lives big.  I love that I get to watch her grow and — hopefully —...

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Making plans

Jun 20

It’s coming up on the the three month mark since my last scan.  Dr. Wonderful and I will discuss when we will  next scan at my next appointment (on Monday).  It could be anytime between now and three months from now (6 months total is the longest he will let me go without a scan).  The more I think about it, the more I feel better about the scanning (thus reducing my scanxiety): I want the confirmation that I’m still NED, or, if not, I want to catch any spots sooner rather than later.  And–always a good reminder–I can’t do anything about any of it: it is what it is.  I control only how I live with it.  Earlier this month Dr. Wonderful ran some blood tests to help us him make that decision, and my blood results came back with good numbers.  They were as good as I could hope for, really… so I am full of expectation hope that the scan –whenever it may be– will be clear. That’s a delicate balance I live everyday.  I live in constant hope of a miracle, but I try not to live with the expectation of a miracle.  It’s a fine line.  I (try to) make the most of my days and have no regrets, whilst still making plans and dreaming of old age. Yup.  I dream of old age.  Don’t you? Brad and I have hit the stretch for the first time since last September where we have some breathing room.  It’s been a sprint from my scan to surgery to chemo to more surgery to more chemo and memory-making along the way, with a memory-making frenzy over the past 3 months.  The memory making is still happening, of course, but we finally have some free space on the calendar.  I love having the day-t0-day free space: long days at the pool, bike riding, nature exploring, random ice cream stops, and playing without interruption.  The daily freedom and lack of schedule is good, but the long-term free space is making me a wee bit twitchy. We have two more biggie memory makers coming up in 2014, but then after that our calendar is open.  Like wiiiide open.  (As it...

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Living my list

Jun 09

Living my list

Lately I’ve been making a list of words and things and actions and fluff that bring me joy.  It’s a mish-mash of inspiration: the trendy word art that is everywhere these days, my own in-process word wall, and an exercise in joy-seeking.  That’s how I see myself: I’m a relentless joy-seeker. swing high climb mountains say cheers share dessert twirl watch the sunset dare to be silly write in the sand I’ve no doubt I will come up with more, but this is what was on my list in the middle of last week.  I’ve only written down a few things: the ones that are striking and poignant and personal to me.   I do hope to add more if they are worthy of the others. Also in the middle of last week I got together with some of my very best girlfriends.  As good friends do, they probed at how am I doing.  I brushed them off and I said, “You know how I am.  I’m Doing Today Well.  I’m finding joy.  I’m Momming.  I’m loving my life.”  All true.  And then they asked the “Yes, but…” questions of what about cancer the elephant. And I got really, really sad. And I don’t really think I need to explain the sadness to you O People of the Internet–because you read this blog, you know. And, I’ve since gently asked those friends to stop poking the elephant because processing it and sharing it and weeping over it does not make it better.  My problem is unfixable: the only choice I have is to walk it out with as much joy and grace as I can.  Discussing the ugly side of things only leaves me with a headache and the wistful thought that I wasted those sad minutes when I could have been doing any one of a million things that would result in change/joy/empowerment/goodness. Many tell me: it’s good to process and get-it-out.  I’ve decided to push back and say, “No.  I AM grounded in my situation.  I DON’T feel better.”  I’m too busy living to let “what ifs” come in and mess with my head. When I was feeling sad that night, I escaped.  I was feeling so...

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What recovering from chemo looks like

Jun 08

How am I feeling?  I’m getting that question a lot these days as I am out and about so I thought I would answer it here.  Summertime is fun: everyone emerges from the winter hibernation.  We no longer scurry from our warm cars to our warm homes; we meander and stroll and turn our faces to the sun and to each other. Per my latest scan (March 2014), I have No Evidence of Disease.  (Never gets old — I LOVE NED!)  My treatment protocol is that I get two biological drugs in my port every 3 weeks (Herceptin + Perjeta), and I get an estrogen-suppressing shot every 4 weeks (Faslodex). Dr. Wonderful ran a few blood tests on me and we got the results back: they are as good as I could have hoped for.  Two tests, both indicating that my cancer is minimal and/or under control.  (I’m not totally sure on the explanation because I just got the call from the nurse about the results.  I’ll meet with Dr. Wonderful on my next infusion day to discuss what the tests mean in greater detail.)  But having test results that fall in the “as good as it gets” column is a happy day around here. Physically I’m feeling stronger and stronger.  I did a lot of hiking and swimming in Hawaii with Brad, but went back to square one after spending all of May with a chest/head cold.  I’ve done four five six walk/jog/run exercise efforts in the past week plus, and each one feels better than the previous.  I am, however, still in at the fitness point where it is more painful and hard than fun and relaxing.  I keep telling myself it will be worth it to get to my running happy place, and meanwhile I’m plodding along. My nails are about halfway grown out.  Close to the cuticle they look healthy and pinkish; the top half is mottled, weak and flakey.  I lost the toenail on my big toe on my left foot for the third time in two years.  I’m wondering if I’ll ever have a toenail on that toe again–it’s weird what you get used to.  I now keep bandaids in with my nail...

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