A surprise to remember

Aug 29

Last week, two of my friends asked if they could take me out to lunch for my birthday.  I checked it with Brad because that’s how we roll, and he gave me the nod and the high-five to go and have fun.  Woo!  I told my friends that this doesn’t need to be about my birthday, but that I’m excited to hang out! They picked me up at 11:30 Saturday and one picked one of the big brew pubs downtown to eat at.  Great! Good drinks, good food, good river views, good friends.  Life is good.  We drove downtown in her convertible with the top up because it was melting-hot.  We parked underground and by the time we got to the restaurant I was woozy from the heat, but I recovered quickly.  We had a good lunch: real questions, real answers, good advice, and all the things.  And I had framboise (raspberry beer) which is one of my favorite summer drinks that is hard to come by on a menu.  Winning all around! We got in the car to head back, and between the hot (melting hot) walk to the car, the smelly parking garage, and the stop-start of the downtown traffic, I was feeling my wooziness again and it was escalating to ugh-iness.  I leaned back in the backseat of the car and, though mentally refreshed and energized by the lunch with my friends, physically I was not feeling well at all.  I sent Brad a text from the backseat: “We are on our way back.  I am not feeling too well.  I would like to nap (instead of swim) when I get home if that’s ok.”  (I had told him that I would take the kids to the pool when I got home.)  As we eased our way home along the highway, the heavens opened and we had the biggest rainstorm I’ve seen in a long time.  There were several areas of the road that were covered in four to six inches of water and it was cause for some white-knuckle driving. Unbeknownst to me, Brad has been planning a surprise party for me for two weeks.  He started his day off by getting up early and covertly...

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It’s Who I Am

Aug 14

It’s Who I Am

During this past regimen of chemotherapy (January to July 2016), I felt like I had the flu most of the time. The way that my body absorbed that particular drug was very consistent… I felt the same degree of side effects for almost that entire six month period.  I had treatment every Monday, and I didn’t feel major changes Tuesday versus Friday versus Sunday, neither was it dramatically different three weeks before or a month in.  Physically I wasn’t ever in an acute situation; I felt weak, nauseous, exhausted, achey and drained.  It was not debilitating but it was definitely a pervasive condition that affected the way I navigated my days.  There was never a window where I couldn’t function at all, but there also was never a window where I felt good.  A varying amount of grit was necessary at all times.  A six-month “flu” really is the best analogy I can think of when I try to describe it.  There were also other random side effects: hair loss was obviously one of them, but also weakening and detaching of some of my fingernails, and what I call “grip strength pain.”  Anytime I tried to open a jar, squeeze hard, or pinch, my hand/fingers burned like they were on fire.  Chemotherapy is weird, folks.  I just learned to adapt to all of it. I should add that I’m incredibly proud of the fact that I maintain my role as present and active mother in the lives of Maren and Greta.  They are (of course) my priority during the day, and I honestly don’t think they remember I have cancer very often.  They are used to my obvious symptom (baldness) and I fight hard to use my best energy for them.  As I plan and prioritize I know that I am doing mothering well.  Praise the Lord! It helps that I know the chemotherapy is my best medical shot at keeping the cancer at bay.  In contrast to the flu, where you want to get over it, I wanted to thrive in it because I want my body to be strong with and without chemo.  I always view chemo as a teammate, and that helps my desire to thrive (and...

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