The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Foggy Bloggy

Merry Christmas!! Not to worry, judging by the title of this post you're going to assume that I've had one too many mimosas. I've been pretty good, although, mimosas are a great alternative to coffee :). We've had a delightful holiday here at the Hinman Atlanta casa. Santa was very good to us this year and the kids have had a blast with all of their presents. My parents (the Riley's) are in town and we've enjoyed having them here. I would venture to say that it's been almost perfect - other than the weather which has left much to be desired. It has been so incredibly foggy here (as in, we can't see our neighbors house across the street) and just sort of blah. Oh, not to worry, the real fun begins tonight. The forecasters are calling for severe thunderstorms with possible tornadoes. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a tornado! Ugh... hope those of you with a white Christmas are loving it!

Tomorrow we head to South Carolina to the Hinman Family Compound to celebrate Christmas, round two! While we do miss visiting Steve's family in Pennsylvania, the South Carolina house is a blast! You really can't beat the beach house :) The kids are looking forward to seeing their cousins. Speaking of cousins, we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the next Riley cousin - stay tuned, it's going to be an exciting January!

I hope each and everyone of you have had a wonderful holiday. Our family has so much to be thankful for this Christmas. Wishing you all a restful and peaceful day, filled with joy and love!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dinosaurs and Angels

We had a great time on Friday evening. The event was held at a local museum and it was such a neat place. I kept feeling like I was in the movie National Treasure where they have the black tie benefit at the Smithsonian. We didn't get to see most of the museum and understandably so, I mean, no one wants a bunch of drunk people running around stealing dinosaur bones and fossils. I know you're curious, so here goes. I didn't wear the dress I ordered. It's a beautiful dress, but it looked like crap on me. I was beyond irritated and in a fit of rage and desperation, crammed myself into a dress I already had (in my defense, it fit okay) and just said the hell with it. It was fine, and really, after a drink or two, who really cares anyway? Alcohol always makes for such an interesting evening.

I know it's been on my mind since I heard the news on Friday and I'm sure you're feeling much the same. I've started this post at least five times only to find myself at a loss for words. I am still so utterly shocked and saddened by the events in Newtown, Connecticut. It's taken me until today to even figure out how to approach talking about it. But, the fact remains that we need to talk about it. I watched some of the nondenominational ceremony on Sunday evening (with a bottle of wine, it was my coping mechanism) and I was truly touched by President Obama's remarks. I still can't fathom how those families, friends etc must be feeling because I know I feel like I'm choking everytime I see a picture of one of those beautiful babies. My god, they were just babies. The staff at Sandy Hook was simply amazing and all involved are on my heart. As an educator, I'd hope that I would have been as brave and fast on my feet given the same circumstances.

I saw a post somewhere on Facebook over the weekend it's really made an impact on me. It went something like this: If you're not angry, you're not paying attention. Truer words have never been spoken. I know I'm furious. I guess it's human nature to try and rationalize what happened. There are multifaceted issues here, all important pieces to the puzzle that we will most likely never complete. I think the part that makes me the most angry is the role media has played and continues to play. I wish to god they would stop sensationalizing these acts of violence. Everyone is so damn anxious to be the first to get the story out, without regard to accurate information. Reporting and journalism as a whole have gone out the window since 9/11. Breaking news is no longer that, just speculation most of the time. I really, really wish the media would just let law enforcement do their job and stop trying to be "the hero". The constant questions, interviews with people 1/1000th related to a case are just overkill. The line has to be drawn. And please, oh please, just let these families grieve without a camera being shoved in their face.

As a nation, we have some really tough questions to ask in the coming days and weeks. Guns are obviously a topic near the top of the list, but I think more importantly is the subject of mental illness. No, we don't know exactly what was going on in the mind of the attacker, but honestly, I hope that he was very, very ill because I can't imagine doing this in cold blood. Mental illness has such a stigma in this country. We need to accept that we can't just shun people with mental illness out of society and lock them away somewhere. Ignorance feeds hate and we certainly don't need anymore of that. As a former special education teacher, I worked with students that had mental illnesses on a daily basis. It's not easy and often very frustrating, but at the end of the day, everyone deserves to be treated as a person. I hope this incident sparks a movement to better educate our country on how to deal with those that need our help the most.

You're on my heart, Newtown. America, I'm praying for you to get this one right. Twenty angels are counting on us all.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Good news, I found a dress!! I know most of you were anxiously awaiting that announcement, as your very lives depended on it. Kidding, kidding, hopefully you have many, many more important things to occupy your time :) Yes, Banana Republic came through for me, and for under $100, can't argue with that! Oh yes, but there is a catch... (isn't there ALWAYS a catch?!?!). I found said dress online, which means, two things: 1) Of course I haven't tried the damn thing on and 2) I had to use two day shipping (bleeding me dry here, people!). Isn't this what makes life exciting? No, actually, it's just dumb, but we're just going to pray really hard to the dress gods that this fits.

In other news, someone let me loose in DSW today. Who's crazy idea was that? Three pairs of (really fabulous) shoes later, I'm pretty much ready for Friday evening. And, in my defense, one of the pairs of shoes was for Steve, so no hating please. The heels I found to go with my dress are totally over the top, way too high and not comfortable at all. I LOVE them! I cannot wait to rock them on Friday night! I probably won't be able to walk for a week, but it's all in the name of fashion, right? I've still got to work on jewelery, but I'm hoping I have something that may work. I need to see the dress in person to confirm. Sometime this week in my spare time (hahaha) I have to get my nails done. They are a hot mess and that's being kind. Chemo did number on them and I am still paying for it...

Can you believe it's almost the middle of December? I've definitely hit my "oh my gawd I still have so many people to shop for" moment. I really don't mind shopping, but wow, it's so much work! I'm also stressed because I waited until last week to order my Christmas cards and who the hell knows when they'll get here. They might have to be New Years cards! Oh well, it's the thought that counts, right? Christmas cards from friends and family have started arriving in our mailbox and I just love them! It's so much fun to see everyone's kids, pets and holiday wishes. Speaking of pets, mine decided to eat part of a poinsetta the other night. Awesome. Awesome to clean up as well. Maybe he's eating poinsettas because Simon is eating his dog food. Yup, there's a whole lots of awesomeness going on at our house. Why, WHY do kids like dog food (the dry kind, I felt like I should mention that) so much? It has to taste awful, I think it smells like something died. Trust me, I try to keep Simon away from the dog bowl, but he keeps sneaking in there. There's nothing better than a baby with dog food breath, ewwwww!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The (Not) Little Black Dress

Ah, Christmas, the season of perpetual hope, or something like that. I about had my fill of "holiday cheer" yesterday at the mall. Oh, not to worry, I certainly wasn't doing any Christmas shopping, I was shopping for myself. Fa la  la la la and all that. No, I'm not completely self centered, but I have been on a desperate mission to find a black-tie worthy cocktail dress. Steve's company Christmas party is black tie this year and of course, I have nothing to wear. "Wear one of the 500 dresses you already own, you'll look great!" he replies (as spoken like a true man who would rather face walking thru fire than deal with an irritated, already frustrated that I'm not a size 2 wife). While I acknowledge that this is a reasonable suggestion, the problem is that all of my formal wear is pre-baby. No matter how hard I try, this body ain't fitting into any cocktail dress I have. CRAP!

So, Simon and I battled the mall. It's my favorite Atlanta area mall, but she certainly did let me down yesterday. I will also note that I'd been to at least 5 other stores before hitting the mall (last week). Simon loves to zoom around in the stroller and he's pretty tolerant most of time. Except for yesterday, of course. I left the mall empty-handed and pissy. In case you're wondering, there's not a shortage of dresses, the problem is (mostly) me. I will not take blame for hem lines that barely cover your ass. Seriously, I'm not trying to show up to Steve's Christmas party looking like a $2 hooker. Gah! Part of the problem is that I have to be somewhat picky. Normally I would relish the opportunity to wear strapless but I can't do that right now. I'm between surgeries and can't pull of that look. I can't wear spaghetti straps for the same reason. I can normally rely on the halter style but I can't rock that look either in my current condition. So what the hell is a girl to do???? It should be noted that there were some gorgeous dresses that started at $400 that I immedaitely gravitated towards. I shouldn't even be allowed to go in those stores...

As you might imagine, I handled this little situation perfectly. Or, I didn't. This is probably where you become extra proud to know me. Simon was fussing loudly (god forbid the stroller not be in a constant state of motion). I pleaded with him (loudly and multiple times) that "Mommy needs a dress TODAY and you're just going to have to deal". I'm sure the mother of the year judges will revoke my title for that comment. Simon thought it would be fun to ignore me and fuss louder and louder until I HAD to leave. So, I handled like any "normal" person and threw a bitchfit. Yup, a royal bitchfit. Although, if you were walking by you may not have assumed anything was amiss other than me driving the stroller like a terrorist and my child screaming. I made eye contact with one woman and I just kept pushing the stroller (slightly aggressive), daring her to get in my way. She moved. I was so freaking irritated with my life at that moment. Simon was happy as soon as we got outside and I felt better too. Maybe it's the loudly blaring holiday music that makes shopping in the mall a bit manic.

So, I have no dress to wear. The event is next Friday night. Time is ticking away. I'm sending a request up to the dress gods to help me out here. Keep your fingers crossed for me, this could get ugly :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So This is Christmas...

Apparently we should have decorated a palm tree instead of a Chistmas tree this year! Not that I'm complaining, 75 and sunny is definitely my kind of weather. It's just odd, being that it's December and all. The weather gods are probably having a good chuckle right now before they pound us all with two feet of snow in January. A huge deal certainly up north, but down here? The city of Atlanta owns one (1) snow plow. So yeah, talk about paralyzing a city...

I am happy to say that I am finished decorating the house for Christmas (huge feat, yay!). Although what I have come to realize with two toddlers and one insane chocolate lab running around, is that I am required to redecorate the Christmas tree at least 5 times a day. It's exhausting. Why didn't anyone warn me about how much work it is to have TWO children under the age of three walking??? Really, someone could have filled me in...I kid, I kid, mostly. But, seriously, Christmas is not supposed to be this much work! I know, my life is so hard :) Steve did talk me into getting a live tree this year and I have to say that I'm really happy he did. It smells DIVINE! Other than having to run the vaccuum 40 times a day, it's beautiful. And really, I shouldn't complain, I'd have to run the vaccuum anyway since Simon's current favorite game is "stick your hand in the plant and wing dirt everywhere"...such a boy.

The other fun part of this Christmas has definitely been our Elf on the Shelf. He appeared last year, but Stella really could have cared less. In case you're wondering, our elf's name is Watson. He doesn't do any silly tricks (come on people, you expect me to be creative at 11pm after chasing these hooligans around all day???) but he does move around. Stella has had a great time searching for him in the mornings.

I am happy to report that I am fully recovered from my sinus infection and bronchitis. Gah, what a freaking pain in the butt that was. Not much to update on the cancer front, I'm sort of in a lull, for lack of a better word. I have just a few Herceptin treatments left and then I'm not sure what's in store for me next. The good news is that the big milestones are done and it should just be routine screenings after this. Fingers crossed!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Crazytrain

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! We certainly had a wonderful holidayand I'm so thankful the timing worked out as well as it did. As I mentioned in my last post, I drove the crazytrain up to Virginia, by myself with the two kids. Yes, yes, there are at least 50 things that could have gone wrong, but you know what? The kids were awesome and I was so darn proud of them. If nothing else, my children are extremely flexible and adaptable when need be (well, Simon is MOST of the time...). Of course, I was 80 shades of out of control due to my damn Herceptin treatment running one and a half hours behind. I was LIVID but, unfortunately, this has become the norm there. I'm thankful that I'm on the back end of treatments and not having to be there every week. That's just plan unacceptable. So, anyway, I was running late which makes me certifiably crazy. Ask Steve and he'll tell you that my timetables are ludicris and unattainable. As you might imagine, Steve and I have some of our best disagreements (re: fights) when it comes to travel. I am Miss Punctuality (probably to a fault, I'm working on it, okay?) and he's the original Mr. Leave Everything to the Last Minute and if he says we're leaving at 8, he really means 10... You'd think by now that I would just automatically add two hours to any departure time, but I still just get so fired up. The man has no concept of time!!!! And, I'm WAY off topic, yet again.

So, we headed out 30 minutes past my departure goal, but luckily traffic wasn't bad so we made good time. We stopped in Charlotte to have dinner with our Charlotte family which was fun and a nice break. It was early enough that I felt like I could keep going, so we continued our drive. I stopped in Blacksburg, VA (Go Hokies!) for the night, mainly to rest my eyes. Of course the kids fell asleep in the car, so when we arrived at the hotel, they were ready to party. Which they did until about 11, but then slept so I really can't complain. I am 100% sure that everyone at the hotel enjoyed watching me play sherpa. I really hadn't thought through the whole getting into the hotel with two kids plus all of our crap. Neat. A very nice older gentleman did hold the door for me as we were leaving...

All in all, we had a wonderful trip home to Virginia. I nearly had the entire time I was home booked, but it was so nice to see old friends. To those I missed, hopefully we can catch up the next time I'm home! I'll tell you what, there's truly no better medicine than being around those who've known you forever and pick up just right where you left off. I'm so, so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. Stella had a blast at my parents house and even shouted when we pulled up the driveway, "we're at the farm!". What??? My parents don't live on a farm. She also referred to my dad as, "Kitty, the farmer" all week. That child is so very entertaining!

The only kicker to our trip was me being sick. Of course, I mean, god forbid everything be perfect. On my last day of radiation I was slightly considering that I might be dying. That's code for: I know I have a sinus infection and it's probably time to deal with it. I don't know why I always let them get so bad, but I HATE going to the doctor. Ironic, no? So, I quickly ran over to the "doc in the box" aka: Walgreens where I was correctly diagnosed with a sinus infection. She asked me what drugs I wanted and then laughed and told me "no" when I asked for Levaquin. Seriously, don't ask me what I want and then deny me, it's just mean. So, she put me on Ammoxicillan. I knew it wouldn't be strong enough, but I felt so bad that I didn't care. Off I went with my drugs. I was actually feeling better the next day, so I was optimistic that it was working. However, I never really felt any improvement. By Wednesday at home, I was feeling pretty crappy again, so off to the Winchester urgent care I went. Well, my lovely "little" sinus infection had turned into bronchitis and borderline pneumonia. Super cheers! Ugh, I was so annoyed, but the doctor was awesome and gave me my Levaquin and some other good drugs. I am finally starting to feel better, but darn it, how frustrating!!

So, that's my vacation in a nutshell. I"m in the process of getting all of the Christmas decorations up. I've grossly underestimated the time that takes with two small children running around. Yes, Simon is now walking, eeek! Pray for me, and if you don't think that's enough, have a few glasses of wine instead. Holy Moses, what have I gotten myself into???

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Graduation Day!

Graduation Day is finally here! Today was my last day of radiation treatments, wahoooo!The staff actually did a tiny graduation ceremony for me complete with a certificate and tassel! I did truly enjoy working with the staff and their heartfelt hugs and congrats meant so much. This is a huge milestone and another check on the giant checklist.

Today has also been special for my chemo friend, Kate. She was finally okayed to have her mastectomy and her surgery was this morning. Her surgery was at the same hospital as my radiation treatements, so I popped over to the surgical waiting room to visit with her parents. I knew they'd be super nervous and worried, so I'm very happy that I had a chance to see them. The best news is that Kate's sugery went very well (she had a much different surgery than I did) and she was in recovery when I left.

As you may recall, my one wish out of this whole cancer mess, was to be able to go home to Virginia for Thanksgiving. This wish is finally coming true! The kids and I are driving up to Virginia beginning on Friday afternoon. Yes, I am driving by myself with two children under the age of three and yes, I know that I am completely insane. I'll be driving the crazytrain all the way to Virginia, feel free to honk if you see us :) The Warwagon will be put to the test. Steve will be flying up next week to join us for Thanksgiving. This trip should be a blast, especially because Stella thinks that my parents (G and Kitty as she refers to them...and yes, Kitty is my Dad) live at the airport. This ought to really blow her mind. She was only 18 months old the last time we were in Virginia, I'm so curious to see how much she remembers. I'm excited to introduce Simon to Virginia as well.

I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to update the blog. I've yet to pack...for any of us. What on earth has happened to me? I used to really have it together (or at least I was under the impression that I did!). I'm sure we'll be departing partially on fire and forget at least 15 important things. Oh well, all in the name of "good family fun", right? I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A Year Ago Today...

A year ago today I gave birth to our sweet Simon. It's amazing how much has changed over the past year. As you know, Simon's birth was no cakewalk and having him spend seven days in the NICU (he was 5 weeks early) was torture (ask a parent of any preemie and they'll tell you how hard it is...and we were not there long at all in the grand scheme of things). Stella also spent time in the NICU, but only 5 days. It was awful leaving the hospital without a baby the first time, the second time was just devestating. But, Simon has thrived and is a happy boy these days.

It's interesting looking back to this time a year ago. I thought I had it all figured out, since we already had Stella and she had been (this is certainly not the case now...) a breeze as a baby. Oh that silly Fate sure threw us a curve ball with Simon. For everything that Stella was easy, Simon was a complete mess. The first few months were really tough, it seemed like all he did was scream and was never happy unless he was swaddled. Once we finally figured out he had reflux and got him on some meds, he was a different kid. I will say that Simon is either deleriously happy or furious these days, he doesn't really have any gray area. But, luckily most of the time, he's a happy, smiley little guy. His favorite activity is scaling the room. He can pretty much get wherever he needs to go, it's pretty fun to watch.

I've felt a lot of guilt over this past year. Yes, I know that having cancer isn't my fault, etc, etc, but it's hard not to feel like I've let him down because I haven't been able to be 100% me. We've made it work, but a part of me is so frustrated that he's had to go through this (as well as the rest of our family). I met a lady at the cancer center this week who has a 5 month old and a two year old. She's going through chemo and radiation at the same time (I can't even imagaine...). She's very sick but she puts on a good face. I was thinking how hard it must be for her going through this with a 5 month old, and then I was like, oh yeah, Simon was 2 months old when I started chemo and Stella had just turned two... That being said, there were many, many times over the past year that I wished that Simon could have been as laid back and easy as Stella was. But, you know what? I think it's actually been a blessing that he has been so challenging. He was the distraction I needed and I didn't have (much) time to dwell on the fact that I had cancer and was going through treatment. No time to feel sorry for myself because I had a screaming baby and a two year old who's idea of naptime was (is) equivalent to an episode of romper room.

So, yes, I never would have chosen this path for myself or my family, but I think we're stronger because of it. It's been pointed out to me by several of my doctors that having Simon probably saved my life. I'll never really be able to tell him (or Stella) how much I love him and am so honored to be his mom.  Everyday I thank my lucky stars for this little miracle we call Simon. Happy Birthday little man!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote for Crispy!

Vote for Crispy! Haha, just a little radiation humor for you. My skin is definitely crispy these days. And, the radiation drama continues! My burn opened up over the weekend and is now weeping. It's really lovely... Anyway, yesterday was supposed to be my last overall breast radiation and the rest of my treatments are just boosts to my mastectomy scar (this is the cakewalk part, I'm told). When I laid down on the radiation table, one of the rads therapists was like, "holy cow! Your arm looks bad, we need to have a nurse check on this". So, not one, but three nurses came in and said, "Get her off the table, this is bad". Awesome. Of course, (why wouldn't it be any other way?) my doctor is in South Africa for the next two weeks. So, they had to page the doctor covering for her who was in a meeting. He took a look at my arm and thought that I should have the day off. Luckily, seeing my chart and noting that it was supposed to be my last big treatment, he decided to go for it. Good plan, doc! I don't want my travel plans messed with! He prescribed some antiobiotic cream to put on the burn which is supposed to be "like magic".

So, yeah, my radiation experience has not been the greatest. I will say that I really have enjoyed working with the radiation staff and doctors, they truly have been wonderful. I hope that if you are reading this and at some point have to have radiation, please don't be discouraged by my experience. All things said, I've had a very easy journey through cancerland (so far). My skin is very sensitive and I'm told it's not surprising that my skin has reacted as it has. I'm just ready to be done. One week from tomorrow is my last treatment, yay!! Hopefully the cream they gave me will do the trick. I'm in a decent amount of pain but nothing that some Advil and Real Housewives can't take care of :).

Our weekend was uneventful which was good. We celebrated Steve's birthday at one of our favorite restaurants on Friday night and that was lots of fun. A funny Stella story to share: our main computer died (for like, the 4th time) and Steve decided to get the parts to build a new one. Trust me, my brain started to melt as soon as he mentioned such a geeky thing like that, but he enjoys it so... who am I to judge? ;) Luckily, or so I'm told anyway, we have a Micro Center near us...not a place I can ever say I had been to (or ever need to return to) before Sunday. Stella was excited to go and Steve told her we were going to the "Nerd Store". Well, you can just guess where this is heading. As soon as we walked into the store, Stella announces (quite loudly), "We're at the Nerd Store!!". Yup, proud parenting moment right there. I don't think the people in the store found it funny...

I wasn't sure if I was going to have time to vote today, but I did manage to sneak it in before lunch. Woohoo. This election has been such a non-event in Georgia, it's a little scary. To those of you living in swing states, you have my deepest sympathies. Three cheers for not having to listen to anymore election commercials after today! You'll never know who I voted for, but I do think Mickey Mouse stands a damn good chance of winning this year :)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Shitastic Thursday

So, yesterday was Shitastic Thursday. That's an upgrade over craptastic, in case you were wondering. Nothing truly bad happened, but the summation of many little things added up to a day from hell. It started with me forgetting to pay Stella's preschool tution (certainly not the end of the world, but I'm normally SO GOOD about paying things on time, aughhh!). Real world problems, I know. You might want to stop reading now, because this will most certainly turn into a bitchfest.

Let's continue, shall we? Radiation is a pain in the ass. Literally. Well, not literally a pain IN the ass, but in the boob region. I've really made an effort to suck it up while living in Cancerland, but honestly, I've had enough and I cried 'uncle" yesterday. The skin under my arm hurts. Think ripping off a band-aid, but everytime you move your arm you feel this way. Truly, a fantastic sensation. The good news out of me telling the doctor I've had enough is that she said, well actually, we'll be done radiation to that area on Monday. Yay!!!!! I really was considering not finishing because my skin is that pissed off. So, my final days of radiation will just be to my mastectomy scar... and that area has been holding up beautifully. The countdown has begun, just nine treatments left!

So, here's the highlight of my day from yesterday and it's a doozie (at least in my mind). I will preface all of this by saying that I have not once (EVER) considered myself in the running for MOTY (mother of the year). I had a little time to kill yesterday afternoon (around 12:45ish pm) before I had to pick Stella up from school. The weather was gorgeous, 65, brilliant sun, you get the picture. I took Simon to the park for a little walk before we had to get Stella. I should mention that he had kicked his crock (shoe) off for the 675th time in one hour, so I decided to leave it off. As we were rounding the corner, a lady stopped me and asked if Simon was my first child. I was puzzled, but answered no. She then proceeded to drill me and ask why on earth Simon didn't have on a jacket, gloves, a hat and shoes. EXCUSE ME???? Friends, I was so taken aback that I didn't even have a good comeback. Randomly, the only thing I came up with on the spot was that Simon had lost his shoes and were looking for them. But SERISOULY? It was 65 degrees, are you freaking kidding me??? OMG, I was so irritated, and still am, apparently. I really, really wish I'd had my wits about me because I would have let this woman have it! What a beeyotch! I should have played the cancer card and shouted: I HAVE CANCER! just to make her feel bad. Aughhhhh! Or maybe run her over with the stoller (have a I mentioned that I have a kick ass stroller?) while shouting "Towanda!". A girl can dream, anyway.

All in all, no big deal but wow, right? Who says something like that, ever? Especially when you don't even know the person. That pretty much sums up my love of life yesterday. Rant over, I'm going to steal some of Stella's Halloween candy, surely that will make me feel better :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I hope everyone has navigated their way safely through Hurricane/ Superstorm/ Frankenstorm Sandy. Gosh, what a mess! I sincerely hope that is not an indication of how things are going to roll this winter... Can you believe that Halloween is tomorrow? Somehow, it's the end of October already! I'm looking forward to getting the kids dressed up in their costumes. They will both be pumpkins. I'm figuring that this will be the last Halloween that I'll be "permitted" to pick out Stella's costume and/or have them be the same thing. I fully plan to enjoy it! It's Simon's first Halloween and he turns 1 next week...aughhhhh!

We had a great weekend. My parents were in town for a visit. We decided to celebrate Simon's birthday a little early since they were here. He had an absolute blast! The kid seriously loves cake. We did a Mickey Mouse theme as he's a big fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and the Hot Dog Dance. A great time was had by all and I'm glad my little guy was able to cover himself in cake! The other great part of having my parents in town (and spending time with them of course!) was getting to have date night! Steve and I enjoyed a nice dinner out on the town and tried out a new (to us) restaurant. One of our favorite things to do is try a different place each time we have a chance to go out. We've found some really great spots!

Radiation is going pretty well. The nausea is gone (thank the lord!) and I'm really just tired. Not chemo tired (that truly, truly sucked) but just ready for bed by the end of the day. I'm missing my energy but hoping that it will return soon after radiation is over! I only have two weeks (10 more treatments) left of radiation. My skin is starting to get pissed off. I'm hoping that it will hang in there but I'm not sure. Fingers crossed that I'll be able to complete my treatments.

Three cheers for Halloween! Have a safe and fun evening, I know I'm excited to see all of the little ghosts and goblins tomorrow night :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Choose Hope

We had SUCH an amazing weekend. The 3-Day was so much more incredible than I realized. I am so proud of our team: When Irish Chicks are Fighting and the entire Atlanta event. The event rasied over four million dollars for breast cancer research. That's pretty freaking fantastic!

We had lots of family in town to participate and cheer on the walkers for the 3-Day. The weather was perfect and just added to the excitement of the weekend. I was so happy to have my neices here, along with some wonderful extended family. We had a big celebration party at our house on Saturday which even included a pink champaigne toast. And yes, some of us drank more of it than others :) I don't actually know how many bottles we went through but it sure was tasty!

I have to thank my fabulous ladies for walking: Beth, Missy & Jennie. You have been truly amazing, dedicated and most importantly, my biggest cheerleaders through this journey. Thank you for keeping my spirits high and the laughter rolling. You have been my sanity and honestly, the best medicine. I love you all!

To my family (all sides, branches and connections), thank you for your unwavering support, love and understanding. To my friends and followers, thank you for listening and tolerating my rants and raves of cancerland. I enjoy coming here to tell you about my journey through cancerland and appreciate you giving me the voice to share my story.

I have to share with you the most special and meaningful part of my weekend and cancer experience so far. On Sunday, I was able to walk with my girls on the last leg of their 3-Day hike. I'm not sure how many miles I walked with them, but at the very least I can tell you that Atlanta is NOT a flat city! I was so happy to be able to share such a rewarding, touching and memorable afternoon with them. To hear the crowds cheering as we approached the finish, to walk arm in arm, united with the knowledge that there is hope. Hope that one day we'll not only find a cure for breast cancer, but cancer in general. I believe in the good of modern medicine and the chance to make a difference. I will keep on fighting and I choose hope.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Nap Wars

It's going to be absolutely gorgeous here this weekend. I'm so glad that the girls will have good weather for the walk. I wish we could keep this weather forever, I love Indian Summer!

I had a check-up yesterday with my plastic surgeon. She just wanted to make sure my skin and tissue expander were holding up okay through radiation. I actually saw my favorite NP instead and it was fun catching up with her. The only downside to the appointment was that she said we can't schedule my next surgery (to remove the tissue expander and replace with implant) until nine months after radiation. I'm seriously bummed because I thought the surgeon had told me six months. So, we'll see I guess. I'm just anxious to be done with this whole mess.

I don't really have any other exciting thoughts to share, unfortunately. I'm currently listening to the demolition crew upstairs (aka: Stella). How can something so small make SO MUCH NOISE?!?! She's happy as a clam but seriously, the napping thing has become such a joke here. I mean, she maybe takes a nap five days out of seven. The problem with that is she still very much NEEDS a nap. I've started removing various things from her room for naptime. Steve suggested padded walls and nothing else and I tend to agree with him. Does this appetite for destruction phase ever end? She will cheerfully remove every.single.wipe from the wipe container. She finds this activity to be joyous while it infuriates me. I do remove them (when I remember) but she just moves on to something else. She really enjoys putting everything she owns into baskets, containers, etc. It's quite frustrating. Serenity now!!!!!!!!!!!

As we speak, a huge crash echoed off the walls from upstairs. No screaming yet... is it too early to start drinking?!?!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Toddler Talk

It's hard to believe that the Atlanta 3-Day is this coming weekend. I feel like we've been planning and talking about it for so long. But, I guess it has been a while, since February. I'm so excited for my girls who are walking (Beth, Missy & Jennie, love ya!) and to also have some family in town to cheer them on. The weather is supposed to be perfect here this weekend, yay!

We had an absolute blast at the pumpkin patch over the weekend. Spending a gorgeous Saturday afternoon in the North Georgia mountains watching the kids explore the pumpkins was just awesome. I continually forget how pretty the mountains are down here. They do make me homesick for the Shenandoah Valley, fall is my favorite time of year in Virginia. Speaking of Virginia, it looks like my plan for making it home for Thanksgiving is a go, wahoo!!

While Saturday was a perfect day, the past three have been a real challenge. My poor Simon has yet another ear infection (this time a double). We've been  threatened with the ENT the next time it happens. He's had 4 ear infections in 5 months, so it's not looking good. He's been a real trooper but I know he's miserable. It's the screaming for an hour in the middle of the night that may do both Steve and I in... Hopefully he'll be back to normal once the antibiotics kick in. I serisouly cannot wait for 2012 to take a hike!

Stella is her crazy self which is good. She is still talking about the pumpkin patch and she also seems to think it's her birthday... not sure why but we're working on that one. Simon will be one in a few weeks (OMG, I can't even talk about it) and I'm slightly worried that it may blow her mind. Hoping for the best there. She's such a funny kid and she does make us laugh. Her favorite thing to talk about is dog poop (yeah, I know it's weird, but what am I supposed to do?!?!). I mean, everytime we take Willie (our insane chocolate lab) outside, she demands that he poop. Whenever we leave the house in the car, she says good-bye to the dog poop. What????? Yup, you're secretly jealous that your child isn't obsessed with dog poop. I get it. Aughhhhhhhhhhhh!

I'm still feeling blah from radiation but the good news is that it's not getting any worse. I mean really, between ear infections and dog poop, I just don't have the time or energy to feel bad!! On that note, both children are actually sleeping (at the same time, woohoo!) so I'm going to put my feet up and catch up on my Housewives. Super classy, all the way around, I know!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pitty Party for One, Please

I began my third "week" of radiation today. I'll have a total of 7 weeks, or 35 treatements, however you want to phrase it. Things are going okay, but definitely not as smoothly as I thought. My skin is reacting well and I don't have any pain, which is great news. I am, however, having nausea. Yup, I made it through 6 rounds of chemo without being sick and now, the part of my treatment that was supposed to be "easy" is kicking my ass. Believe me when I say that I am beyond frustrated and annoyed at this little turn of events. At first, I really thought it was just my allergies acting up but as the days have progressed, the nausea has gotten worse. So, I mentioned it to my doctor today, and oh yes, nausea is indeed a side effect for the type of radiation I'm getting. I'm having a fairly large area radiated (IBC infiltrates the skin lympahtics) and in order to cover everything, a small part of my spine is involved which is causing the nausea. Jumping for joy here... My doctor prescribed some anti-nausea meds, so we'll give them a whirl. It's a minor setback really, all things considered, and I'm sure that I'm being a baby about it, but I just wasn't counting on feeling bad during radiation. Mostly I think I'm just disappointed in my body for not taking a stronger stand. November 14th can't get here soon enough. Okay, pitty party officially over, I'm even annoying myself at this point!

All that being said, I don't really have the luxury of laying around and trying to sleep my troubles away. Most days I just try to keep my mind and body busy, the less time focused on not feeling good, the better. I'm glad that Simon and Stella keep me on my toes! We're looking forward to a fun weekend at home. The weather is supposed to be beautiful and we're hoping to take the kids to the pumpkin patch!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Little Things

We had a nice weekend which included a short trip up to Charlotte to celebrate our nieces' birthdays. The kids had a blast (the party included a bounce house, what's not to love??) and we had a good time catching up with family and friends. It was one of those weekends that started out sunny and in the 80's and ended up rainy and in the 50's. You've gotta love a 30+ degree temperature swing in a 24 hour period! The kids were somewhat well behaved in the car and amazingly patient when we were stuck behind an accident returning home on I-85. I-85 in Georgia is notoriously bad and I'm not sure I've ever taken a road trip on that interstate where we didn't sit behind an accident. Yesterday was at least a 5 mile back-up but we used the GPS to detour ourselves around it. Thank god for technology on days like that!

Radiation is going well. I'm starting to meet some people and I've enjoyed chatting with them. The staff (and patients, for that matter) could not be any nicer so I really don't mind having to be there every day. I had a marathon day on Friday which included radiation, a Herceptin treatment, an x-geva treatment and a flu shot to round things off. I was exhausted but didn't feel bad, so that was a bonus. I was able to catch up with Kate again for our Herceptin treatment. She's doing well, considering that she's still getting chemo every three weeks. I really admire her spirit, she's still so positive. I've got my fingers crossed that she's going to get good news this time around.

As I mentioned earlier, it's chilly here in the south. I always have to chuckle a little bit when it gets below 65 here, because people break out the Uggs, scarves and winter coats. Yes, it's cool, but not cold! Although, at the moment I'm freezing and I'm tempted to break out my ski socks. Being that our AC was on over the weekend, I refuse to turn on the heat. It just seems wrong to go from AC to heat, there should be a "period of silence" where you don't have to use either unit and enjoy saving a little cash. So, it's 62 degrees in my house but damn it, we're saving money! It's the little things, really...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Girl On Fire

I feel like the Alicia Key's song: Girl on Fire can represent my life in so many ways right now. Most literally, my body is kind of on know, the whole radiation thing. Secondly, the song is all about feeling empowered as a woman and I can totally relate to that, especially this past year. Lastly, it's just a kick-ass song, you should check it out if you haven't already heard it.

Radiation is going well. At least, I assume it is, I can't feel anything so I guess all is well. Being a science fan (I really am!), I find the entire process really interesting. Radiation treatments are based on such precise, meticulous measurements. I guess maybe I just appreciate the intricacy of the process especially considering what a major cancer treatment this is, and yet, I feel nothing. Cheers to that!

In other news, I bought some "product" for my hair the other day. Yup, freaking fantastic!! I bought some gel (at least, that's what I think it is) which I have never used until pre-cancer hair was fine and very straight - no gels needed! So, I'm currently rocking the "mussed up" 'do which I think I can pull off... if it looks like crap, no one has said anything yet... It's kind of fun to do and only takes about 10 seconds - my kind of hairstyle! Plus, it's a great excuse to sport fabulous earrings.

I managed to burn the ever-living-hell out of the roof of my mouth last night. You'd think I'd learn not to dive into my just-out-of-the-oven frozen pizza, but alas, I've lost count of how many times I've done that. Please try not to be jealous of my gourmet dinner. Look, it was 8:30pm., Steve was out for a fancy schmancy dinner for work and I simply didn't have the energy to whip up some healthy, impressive meal. Rarely do we eat dinner here before 8pm, so that was nothing new, but trying to corral my two hooligans, prepare for bed (bathtime was out of the question last night). read stories, brush teeth, etc, all on my own is exhausting. I know many of you can relate. So, yes, my frozen pizza tasted 5 star last night...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Officially Radioactive

Just a quick update to let you know that my first day of radiation went well yesterday. They had to redo a couple of the x-rays (for landmark purposes) because the machine was acting up. So, while I was getting my treatment, I thought that they were still taking pictures. Turns out, I was being radiated and didn't even know it! I know you're completely shocked by my lack of awareness, it seems to be an ongoing theme since I've been diagnosed... But, I'll certainly take this experience over chemo any day!

Other than that, I have been insanely busy. I find it funny that in the handouts they gave me, I'm supposed to rest... yeah right. My doctor even said yesterday that I don't have time to be tired! Well, I guess I'll just keep busy and hope for the best. Simon has been a complete tyrant, teething with him has been a delight (<---- extreme sarcasm there). Some days I'm not sure either of us are going to survive each other. Yet another difference between Simon and Stella - she didn't shed a single tear when teething. The only saving grace right now is that Simon has skipped crawling and is walking (still assisted at this point). Um, what?!?! Stella didn't take her first steps until around 14 months...I'm not ready for this!

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Steve and I are going out, no kids, on Saturday night, woohoo! It's the end of September and officially fall. Bring on the college football, beer and chilly nights :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Next Step

Tomorrow is the big day - I begin radiation. I'm a little nervous, but mostly just ready to get the show on the road. Today I have my "dress rehearsal" for raidation. Basically they do a mock up of exactly how things will be placed so that when I actually start treatments, they won't have to position the machine each time. My doctor says I won't really have any side effects, other than being tired towards the end. I'll admit I'm a little irritated about that. Why on earth does that bother me when it could be so much worse? Well, I didn't realize just how tired/ exhausted I had been over the past year (including being pregnant with Simon last fall). Now that I have my enegry back and I'm feeling great I just don't want to feel like half a person again. I'm frustrated that I'll have to battle fatigue and dragging myself through the day. I know, I know, I really don't have much to complain about, I've come through this journey relatively unscathed and have an excellent prognosis. Ready ot not, it's time to get moving and check another box off of the treatment list.

I've become somewhat complacent with the fact that I have been feeling awesome. Still, it's been so amazing to recieve all of the well wishes, cards, emails etc as I begin this next phase of my treatment. I truly believe that fighting cancer is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one. Thank you so very much for all of the love and support along the way. Knowing that all of you have been standing beside me through this journey has given me the courage to face the fire and battle my way through, eyes wide open. I'll never be able to truly express how much it means, but please know that I am so grateful and appreciative of every kind word, gesture, and prayer. I am so lucky that cancer chose me, because without this major reality check, I would have taken for granted just how many fantastic people have been a part of my life. I'll always be thankful for that.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Random Ramblings

I thought I should mention that my iPhone light (the camera flash) is still's only been two months. In case you forgot, I managed to break my phone for the second time while falling down the stairs in July (see the post titled: Because I'm Awesome). I'm not upset, more baffled and somewhat awed. Also, now when on a call, the phone rattles so bad I have to use it on speaker (which ironically, works perfectly). It plays music fine, maybe it's annoyed that it plays the Hot Dog Dance 50 times a day, who knows (Simon is obsessed with this song from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. It stops him from crying immediately and he likes to listen to it while eating. Don't ask...). So, yeah, my poor iPhone is totally over me. And no, I won't be getting the new iPhone 5 at this time...

I'm still waiting for most of my shows to start up again. This is really bad because I've been sucked into some totally addicting reality TV. Reality TV is like seeing a car accident on the side of the interstate: you know you should look away but you just can't. Ugh, I can feel myself becoming dumber by the minute watching this stuff, but yet I'm still watching. I won't mention the shows I'm watching but I can promise you it's not that awful Honey Boo Boo trainwreck. As someone who lives in Georgia, I'm completely mortified that this is the perception the rest of the country has of our state.
Just wow.

On that note, I probably should get back to doing something productive, like spending money :). This fall weather is so inspiring for shopping! I am so excited about my new fabulous pair of boots I bought a couple of weeks ago. Yay for fall!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Warwagon

Life is good these days :). We finally struck gold in the car department after years (okay, maybe a month or so, whatever, you get the point) of searching. After much (and I do mean MUCH) debate on the type of car we were going to get, we decided on a Toyota Sequoia. I absolutely love these SUVs and driving it is basically like driving a larger version of my 4Runner. I have, without a doubt, loved driving my 4Runner. I bought it new in 2005 and it's been a joy to drive. It will be very hard to say good-bye to that car, we've been through a lot together. But, as much as I love the 4Runner, it wasn't able to hold up in the space category...just not enough room! So, anyway, Steve and I had been searching for a used Sequoia and I was getting fairly frustrated with the process as several had slipped through our fingers due to varying circumstances. In hindsight I'm really glad the other cars didn't work out because the Sequoia we ended up getting is exactly what we were looking for, YAY! We did have to venture to Huntsville, AL on Saturday (about 3 hours from Atlanta) but it made for a fun roadtrip and completely gorgeous drive. It also helped that the kids were extremely well behaved. I am so excited! We have already decided on a name for the car (come on, you know your car has a name too!) and I think it's well suited: The Warwagon. Because, really, between two kids, all of their junk, and one insane chocolate lab, this car is going to be getting a workout! Nevermind that our driveway/ garage looks like a used car lot...we've haven't put the Exploder (otherwise known as the Explorer) or the 4Runner up for sale yet. If you're interested, hit me up!

In other news, I met with my radiation oncologist today. The big news? I'll (FINALLY) be starting radiation next Thursday. Yeehaw. I think she may believe I'm slightly crazy (not shocking if you've met me ;) ) because I told her that I needed to be done with radiation before Thanksgiving. If I don't get to go home (to Virginia) for Thanksgiving someone is going to get an absolute earfull. She promised me I would be done by then and feeling good. That's reason to celebrate!

Steve is heading to a boys golf adventure beginning on Wednesday, he'll be back Sunday. Hopefully the kids and I will survive each other. Between Stella and the terrible two's (people really weren't kidding about that little gem) and Simon with his teething (sheer agony...although he does now have 4 teeth!) it's going to be ugly. Really, really ugly. Maybe I should start drinking now...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Ultimate Craptastic Tuesday

So, obviously September 11, 2001 was the ultimate craptastic Tuesday. No argument there, that's for sure. In my mind it's hard to believe that 11 years have passed since that awful day. The memories are still so fresh and vivid in my head. It's amazing and sad how much things in our world have changed since then. The biggest thing that comes to mind for me is the entire airport experience. Not only has security been beefed up (I am completely okay with this) but before 9/11, you could meet people at the gate and see them as soon as they disembarked from the plane. Remember how much fun it was to get off the plane and have someone waiting for you? I distinctly recall several times waiting to meet Steve as he arrived from an overseas trip. Sadly, those days are long gone, along with real silverware in airport restaurants and nail clippers in your carry-on.

I think if you surveyed the population of Americans old enough to remember September 11, 2001, each person would be able to tell you what they were doing at the time. I know I certainly do. I was in my second year of teaching in NOVA (Northern Virginia) and it was the second week of school. The second week of school, teachers are still getting to know their students and vice versa. I was fortunate enough to be teaching at the newest high school in Fairfax County (at the time) and we had TV's in every classroom. I was actually on my planning period when the first plane struck. We turned on the news thinking a plane had obviously had some kind of mechanical error. With minutes of watching the news, the second plane struck. Rocket science wasn't needed after that, we quickly gathered to see what on earth was happening. Many of my colleagues at the time were from NYC and still had family there. As they tried to reach their families, most without success, the enormity of what was happening hit me.

And then the plane from Dulles International Airport hit the Pentagon. All bets were off. You see, my school bordered the property of Dulles. All hell broke loose and our school went into immediate lockdown (as did all schools around the region). At that point, our principal came over the loudspeaker to inform the students and staff what was going on. It was chaotic, to say the very least, because at that point, there were rumors flying around that other buildings in DC had been hit. I was quite proud of our principal and the way he handled the situation. He didn't try to hide what was going on from the kids and instead, asked that we as a staff try to ease the frantic minds of our students and let them watch what was going on. To this day, it was still the most difficult day of my teaching career. Parents arrived in an uproar to pick up their kids. Since we were in lockdown, parents had to show ID in order to have their child released. I remember when the bell sounded to move to the next class, the hallways were silent, the kids just didn't know what to say. Many of them were worried about the safety of their parents - most of my students had parents who worked in DC for the federal government and some even at the Pentagon.

My school was lucky that day, we didn't lose any parents to the Pentagon, World Trade Center or the Pennsylvania crash. Some families lost relatives and loved ones at our neighboring schools. I remember driving home from school on empty roads, as most people had left hours before to get home to their families. Traffic on I-395 in DC was rerouted so that all directions were heading out of the city. It was hours before I was able to reach my parents due to phone lines being tied up. My roommate and I just stared at our TV for hours, not even really knowing what to say.

Ironically, what I remember most from 9/11, was actually two days later. We returned to school, after having 9/12 off, and our principal had our school chorus sing the Star Spangled Banner, acapella, for the entire school. It was the sweetest sound I'd ever heard and to this day, it still gives me chills to think about hearing it for the first time after the tragedy.

Perhaps we, as Americans, had become too complacent with our liberties. September 11 serves as a reminder that freedom should never be taken for granted. I'm proud to be an American and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity every day to make my own choices and decisions regarding my life and how I live it. That's definitely something worth fighting for.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Red Letter Day

It's been a red-letter day here at the Hinman house! This is a good thing, because honestly, after yesterday I was considering purchasing a one-way ticket to Yeomen (that's a Friends reference and yes, I still desperately miss that show!). Stella was in RARE form, so combine that with 50 other things going wrong and you have a day that felt like a craptastic Tuesday (and really, Monday was a holiday this week, so yesterday technically WAS a Tuesday...). Anyway, today has been greatly improved.

My red-letter day started with me achieving pre-chemo weight, yahoo! Of course, this number is still horribly unacceptable as that puts me back to post-Simon birth weight, but it's progress! I managed to gain 10lbs from chemo (lucky, lucky girl right here!) and it's amazing how much better I feel just losing that little amount of weight. I have a long way to go, but I'm happy that I've had some success so far. Now if I can just keep up this momentum... The good news is that my energy has finally returned and I'm exercising a little. I'm hoping to increase it a little each week.

The second part to add to my happy day was the official release from my plastic surgeon. Well, for now at least. I am finally finished with all of my pump ups for the tissue expander and can begin radiation. Of course I went to schedule my CT scan for radiation next week and my doctor has jury duty... so, we'll put it off for one more week and keep our fingers crossed that radiation doesn't interfere with Thanksgiving. If that's the case, someone will get hurt.

Third, and probably most important for today, Stella sat on the potty at preschool. You have absolutely NO IDEA how huge this is. I am so stinking proud of her and at the same time, really hoping that we are going to make some positive progress with this whole potty training thing (which up until this point has been a disaster). So, fingers crossed that we're onto something here!

All in all, a great day! In a moderate protest to mother nature, I put up my fall decorations this morning. Not Halloween decorations, mind you, just fall things. Actually, I guess I'm behind since Costco already has their Christmas stuff out. I wish I was kidding. Pottery Barn is still sending me their fall catalogs so I think I'm safe for now. My hopes in putting out my fall decor (fabulous as it is) is that maybe it will cool off a little...maybe to the low 80's or something. This humidty is just inappropriate. There's nothing like sweating in shorts and a tank top watching football...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Welcome September!

Welcome September! Too bad it feels like the beginning of August... it's so humid if feels like you could cut the air with a butter knife, disgusting! Steve, the kids and I spent labor day weekend at the Hinman family beach compound in South Carolina. The sun was out, humidity was at about 3,000% and the bugs were unbelievably bad, but we had a great time! Stella absolutely LOVES the beach and would spend every waking moment in the ocean if we let her. Simon had quite a fine time playing in the surf and eating lots and lots of sand... The kids enjoyed playing with their cousins and we had a great time hanging out and relaxing (as much as one can relax with 4 children under the age of 3...). Steve and I stayed up late last night to watch the Hokies play their opening football game against Georgia Tech. What a nail biter!

Remember when I said I was done with my pump up sessions for my tissue expander? Yeah, just kidding about that. I had two more last week (really not happy) and will have my final one this Thursday. I'm very frustrated that it has taken so long. The good news is that I am feeling good and my hair is growing like a Chia Pet. Pretty soon I'm going to need to actually do something with it. Ironically, I will miss the ease of truly being a "wash-n-go" girl.

September will be a busy month for us. Between travel, weekend plans and the normal hustle and bustle, it will be October before we know it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

It's A Small World After All...

Over the weekend Steve and I attended a birthday party for my chemo friend Kate. She was celebrating her 30th birthday along side her sister who was celebrating her 40th birthday (they don't share the same day but decided to have a joint party to celebrate their big milestones). We had so much fun! We thought it was really sweet of Kate to invite us, especially since we wouldn't know anyone there other than her parents. Well, in the strange way that fate works, we ended up knowing some people at the party! What a small world! Randomly someone Steve works with was there; she's good friends with Kate's sister. Even more interesting, Kate's sister is a Delta Gamma, as am I, how cool is that? A bunch of her UGA (that's Univ of Georgia for those outside the state) DG sisters were there so I had a chance to meet and chat with them. Needless to say, they were fantastic and I'm looking forward to attending some of the Atlanta DG alumni events with them.

We had a great time at the party and I'm so glad that Kate had something to celebrate because she's really had a tough time. We were "reunited" on Friday, our treatment days finally coinciding again. She was hoping that Friday was going to be her final round of chemo (she had a two treatment extension when it was discovered that her tumor had not shrunk enough for surgery) but now they're telling her she may have to do four more rounds. Kate's pissed but being a total rockstar about it. She's so strong, I'm not sure I'd be dealing with the situation quite as well. But, as she said, what other choice do I have? And, she's right, the only thing she can do is keep fighting and hope that the chemo finally does it's job. I know I'll be along side her, cheering her on.

I hate to say that I was right...but I'm RIGHT!! Didn't I mention a few weeks ago that I thought a hurricane was brewing? Hello Isaac! In all seriousness, I'm truly hoping that all he brings is rain to those who need it most. Fingers and toes crossed on all fronts. We're feeling the effects of Isaac is Atlanta today, it's dumping buckets of rain and is super humid. While we need the rain, I'm really only prepared to deal with a day of this mess. I'm already feeling a little stir crazy and it's only been half a day of rain...

A few things for you to make you thankful you don't live in my house: 1) Recently, the only way I can get Simon to eat dinner is to play the "Hot Dog Dance" (from Mickey Mouse Clubhouse). You may think I'm kidding, but I'm really not. He goes from pushing the spoon away and screaming to complete and utter joy and I can't shovel the food in fast enough. Yes, I too find the whole thing to be weird and a little bizzarre... 2) Stella is practicing to be a moutain climber. Yesterday during "naptime" she climbed up onto her dresser and then climbed up onto her floating shelves to get something down. WHAT??? How is this even possible? I have no idea how the shelves didn't collapse, they're not very strong. When I went in to check on her (it was quiet, I was suspicious), she coudn't have been more proud of herself. So, yeah, good times all around here in crazytown...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hiking for Health

Stella had her first day of preschool yesterday and absolutely loved it! I was fairly confident that she would be fine (she did go to daycare while I was still teaching) but it's been over a year since she has been to daycare, so I was quite curious to see how she would do. Her teacher said she did great and seemed pretty enthusiastic. She woke up this morning hoping that she would be going to school again today. I hated telling her no, but she'll get to go on Thursday - her class meets every Tuesday and Thursday. It was kind of funny once Stella was at school and Simon was snoozing for his morning nap, I wasn't quite sure what to do with myself and this newly found free time. Not to worry, I found plenty of things to keep me busy!

We had a nice, fun weekend. On Sunday we hiked up Kennesaw Mountain at the battlefield. I am somewhat embarassed to admit it was our first visit. There are some wonderful national and state parks here that we have yet to see. We made a vow that we would do this more often. The kids loved being outside and Steve and I enjoyed the hike. Plus, I enjoy exercising outside 1,000 more times than I do hitting the treadmill at the gym. I haven't been to the gym in so long that I'm 99% sure if I went there today two things would happen: 1) My access card would burst into flames and 2) I'd most likely have to go through new member orientation again... The good news is that I'm excited to start exercising again, and the more active I am, the more energy I have.

Tomorrow I have my last "pump-up" for my right tissue expander. I am so pumped (ha!). My doctor is basically letting my make the call and I'm ready to be done. Each time I have an expansion it gets a little more painful. I will have the tissue expander in for at least 6 months so I want to make sure I can live with it for that amount of time. The other piece of good news is now that I am done with expansion, I can begin radiation. On Friday, I have a Herceptin treatment and finally get to see my friend Kate again - I haven't seen her in two months! I'm looking forward to catching up with her.

I've managed to catch a cold (or maybe it's allergies, who knows) so I'm going to put my feet up. It's hard to believe that labor day is fast approaching - where did the summer go?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Under Construction

My life could be considered "under construction". I'm ending one phase of the process and beginning another in my quest to leave cancer-land for good. There's a thought! Instead of Candyland, I'll come up with a board game called Cancerland, not a bad idea! I could probably market it at most places that do chemo treatments and hospitals, I'm sure the patients would get a kick out of it. If not, at least it would help pass the infusion time... I'm hoping that tomorrow when I see my plastic surgeon she'll give me the green light to begin radiation treatment. Radiation treatment is going to be eating into my fall time and that doesn't thrill me.

Speaking of construction zones, I'm living in one. Not my house at the moment, but everywhere within a 5 mile radius of us. It's BEYOND frustrating. For a while (meaning the past two years, yes I said years) the main road (for GA folks, GA-120) by us has been undergoing a massive transformation. It's nearly done and greatly improved. But TWO YEARS is a long time to endure the wonderful hiccups and snafus that come along with construction.  Four weeks ago the pavers arrived to re-pave our neighborhood. Loud and inconvenient, yes. But, I figured that we could endure for a week or two, because in the end, we would have nice, newly paved streets. All well and good except that the workers haven't returned in TWO WEEKS... what?!?! Our street was finished but not the main drag through the neighborhood, it looks terrible and is worse than driving on cobblestones. Did they run out of county funding or something? Surely this isn't the finished product... It's bizzare to say the least. I'm sure they'll return with their jackhammers just in time for "naptime" at our house.

I don't really have anything else to say that's worth your time, unfortunately. I've been trying to get organized (the eternal quest) enough to not have Crazytown grant me citizenship next week. Stella starts school on Monday which is actually late... most of the kids went back this week or the week before. I've been trying to find her a lunchbox but I haven't had any success yet. To compensate, we hit the sale today at Carter's... It's a little frustrating right now that all of the stores have fall and winter clothes out when it will still be hot here through October. Oh well, at least the clearance sales have been great!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Will and a Way

We had a nice, semi-uneventful weekend. The weather was absolutely fantastic, so perfect (temps in the mid-80's, not an ounce of humidity) that it makes you wonder what's lurking... is a hurricane brewing out there somewhere? Those weather conditions are rare in Georgia in the middle of August. So, yes we spent much of the weekend outdoors which was great! We also had dinner with a good friend of Steve's from college, it was nice to catch up with him.

The Bed Wars continue to rage in our house. I had another small victory yesterday. Opting to not run up the steps 500 times during "naptime", I broke out the big guns and set up the pack-n-play. To most 2 year olds (and maybe I'm really wrong about this) it would be upsetting to be demoted to naptime in the pack-n-play. Not Stella! She was seriously so excited to sleep in her "crib" as she calls it... While I did curtail the constant out-of-the-bed, destroy-my-room behavior, she's still the master of conversation and strategy. The child can talk to herself and the bedroom furniture for HOURS. It's simply amazing. She also knows that if she wings her NNP (night night pink - her tag blanket and current BFF) out of the pack-n-play and screams loud enough, I'll eventually come upstairs with my hair on fire. However, being the accomplished general that I am in times like this, I have been resisting the screams. Well, at least about 60% of the time. I have to play my cards right, because if she yells and screams loud enough to wake up Simon, then Houston, we really have a problem.

I had a post-surgery check-up with my breast surgeon yesterday. She was absolutely pleased with my progress. I'm way ahead of where I should be...full range of motion in both arms, able to lift 10 lbs (um, actually more like 30lbs since I've been picking Stella and Simon up for weeks now).  I'm an overachiever and I'm way too competitive, and apparently this also includes recovering from surgery. But, honestly, I don't have time to wait around and feel better, so I willed myself to feel better and TA-DA - I do! Maybe I have a high pain tolerance (though I strongly doubt that) or I'm just lucky that my body has been so cooperative these past 7 months, I have no idea but I'm certainly not complaining. My surgeon and I talked again about my pathology report which she still says is just amazing. I had a complete reponse to chemo (meaning the cancer is 100% gone, a perfect scenerio in cancer-land!) and that's as good as it gets! She also mentioned how proud of me she was and the way I've handled the situation. As I told her, it just hasn't been that hard for me; I haven't been sick, felt too bad or had any major setbacks (knock on wood). Maybe if I had been really sick or something I would feel completely different. Yes, dealing with cancer has been a major time comittement and a serious pain in the ass, but I don't know that it's necessarily been a bad experience. I see it more as my life needing a change in direction and perspective. For that, I'll always be thankful. Attitude is so important, in all aspects of living. Cancer may have chosen me, but I had the choice on how I would fight back. I chose to have a positive outlook and focus on living, no exceptions. I dealt with my cancer as I would with any competitive sport: I have to win and I have to win big.

So, after a giant hug and a happy dance later, I said good-bye to my breast surgeon. I don't get to see her again for 6 months. Out of my medical team, she's my favorite. I can't thank her enough, not only for her medical expertise and excellent care, but for believing in me and giving me the one thing I needed most: HOPE.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Bed Wars

Simon is 9 months old today. WHAT?!?! How is this possible? And if Simon is 9 months old, that means that I was diagnosed with IBC 7 months ago. My oh my, I will be the first one in line to wish 2012 a VERY good riddance. It's an interesting conundrum (are you loving my use of SAT words?) because on one hand, I cannot wait for this year to be over for obvious reasons, but on the other hand, I hate to wish the time away, especially since Simon will most likely be the last baby for us. Honestly, at this point the thought of 1) being pregnant again and 2) the concern about my body and it's capability to do anything "normal" are serious stressors for me. Nevermind that fact that we are already 50 shades out of control here, adding another person into this mix would surely put us on the fast track to the looney bin. We may already be on the fast track, I'm not sure...

I'm happy to report that I did go the eye doctor and have a new contact lens/ glasses prescription. So, hopefully my spelling will improve on here since I can now see the computer screen. I know, one doesn't really go with the other, but humor me here. Plus, it's nice being able to read road signs :)

At the risk of having DFCS called on me, I opted not to handcuff Stella to her bed. We did, however, have a small victory in what I'm now referring to as The Bed Wars. While the baby gate I purchased managed to keep Stella in her room, it did not keep Stella from repeatedly slamming her door. Steve, having not endured the intense battle of Stella running wild during naptime, took charge on Tuesday night. He quickly became frustrated with the continuous up and down the stairs routine, especially since we were attempting to make 8:30 pm (our normal dinner time). After his 5th trip upstairs, he ran down to the basement and returned with a screw driver. I didn't even ask what he was up to. Steve turned the door knob around on Stella's door, so now the lock is on the outside. Brilliant!! Does it keep her in her bed? Of course not, but it sure as heck keeps her in her room! We won a small battle, but not the war. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sweet Freedom

I am officially a FREE woman!! I had my last drain removed today, wahoo!! Those things are seriously disgusting and uncomfortable, I'm happy to be rid of the last one. Actually, it probably could have stayed in longer but was starting to get funky (for lack of a better term) and old. So, go me and all that :)

In other news, today Stella was accepted into the preschool we were on the waiting list for. School starts August 20 (yikes!!) so we have lots to get accomplished before she goes. She'll be going Tuesdays and Thursdays for the entire school year. I just can't believe she's old enough to be going to preschool. I know Stella will love it (and eventually so will I) but gosh, I've so enjoyed having her all to myself during the day this past year. Simon has already become so independent (we hold our own bottle now, thank you very much!) before I know it, he'll be playing baseball in high school (well, I can hope, at least!). Although, maybe I'm looking at this completely wrong...maybe preschool can help ease the pain/ disaster that is the terrible two's. Things are slightly (read: mostly) out of control here at the moment. For example: Last week I was reading while my darling children were "napping" (we use that term very loosely in this house). Suddenly, I heard a door slam. Well, obviously my windows aren't open as it's August in Georgia so logically I leapt to the conclusion that someone had broken into the house and was upstairs. At the next door slam I went charging up the stairs (okay, not really sure what I was going to do IF I caught the intruder, but whatever). I opened Stella's door but she wasn't in her room. I heard talking coming from Simon's room so when I opened his door, naturally I was surprised to find my "napping" children playing. Thankfully, Simon was still in his crib (if he had been out, we'd be having an entirely different conversation) and having a blast with Stella putting things in the crib for him. Yup, I was so freaked out/ amused by what was going on that I couldn't even be mad. So began the "I can now open the child proof door knob things and will not stop" movement of Stella during naptime. I may lose my mind over this one (most of it's gone at this point anyway). I was so frustrated yesterday that I went to Target and bought a baby gate to put in her door frame. The 12th time I went upstairs this afternoon to put her back in bed, I found various assorted items hanging on the baby gate. Go ahead and laugh, I did.

We had a nice weekend visit with Steve's parents, they came to visit from South Carolina. I had my 3 week Herceptin treatment on Friday along with a check-up with my oncologist. She's still pleased with how things are going. I've also been getting bi-weekly pump ups (I'm not really sure what else to call it?!?!) in my right tissue expander.

Things are rolling right along. I've started seeing commercials for football season which gets me excited for fall. Not that I'm wishing the summer away, but fall is my favorite season! On that note, I'm headed upstairs as something was just launched from the two year old's room...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Meeting Mary Poppins

A distressing amount of my time has been dedicated to watching the Olympics since they started on Friday. I can't help it, I LOVE sports! I can't get enough, especially when it comes to the excitement and sportsmanship of the Olympics. So, my house looks like several bombs went off because I just can't tear myself away from table tennis ( <---actually, I'm totally kidding about that). Soccer, swimming, gymnastics (talk about drama!), the list goes on. The Olympics have been a very welcome distraction for me, let's go Team USA! London has been pretty fantastic too. I wish I could just pop over there for a few days. I don't even need to see an Olympic event, but a castle or two would be great. Oh, and I'd love to hang with Wils and Kate for a bit, maybe for a cocktail or something.

Speaking of all things Brittish, I met and hired Mary Poppins last week. If you've been following my blog, then you'll recall a somewhat drug-induced plea for Mary Poppins herself to arrive at my house (see: Mary Poppins and Other Drugs post if you're wondering what on earth I'm talking about). Well, she's here and quite modern, if I do say so myself. Yes, she is an actual Brittish Nanny, in case you were wondering. She was with the kids for the first time yesterday and she didn't run from the house screaming before I returned home, so we'll take that as a good sign. She'll be here every day once I start radiation, but for now she's working a few days a week (I still have 4.3 million doctors appointments every week). I told her if she could have Stella potty-trained I would pay her a bonus. Is that wrong???

Recovery-wise I'm about the same. I still have one drain remaining, the damn thing just won't give up... I've begun having the fillers for my tissue expanders on the right side. I can't begain radiation until that's complete, so I still have a few weeks to go. I'm frustrated because I just want to get this part over with, I'm quite tired of being patient. It's not like I have a choice, I know, but I'd like to move on. So, as July fades into August, I'm trying to keep things into perspective. I've been incredibly lucky to have such a positive outcome regarding the seriousness of my cancer. I just need to keep my chin up and move forward. Until next time... I've got an appointment with the men's water polo team :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Backing Up the Truck

I suck at making decisions. It's a big, big weakness and I can be such a procrastinater when it comes to making really big, important decisions. For example: I'm currently interviewing people for a nanny position. Wait. Back up the truck. What did I just say??? Did hell just freeze over? Possibly but definitely not in Georgia, it's 987 degrees here today... Yes, I'm in the process of hiring a part time nanny because with radiation being every single day for 7 weeks, I need someone to watch the kids. Bringing them to radiation is not an option (just what I need, a couple of radioactive kids) and really, why would I drag them there anyway? So, it's been a good run and I've held out as long as I could, but we just can't make this work without some help. There, I said it, the H Not my favorite word by far. Wish me luck, I am WAY too nice when it comes to telling people no. It's not unreasonable to have 6 nannies, right? Just kidding...sort of.

It's been an interesting couple of weeks. I had a chance to talk with my chemo pal Kate yesterday. Our schedules have not been meshing and I haven't seen her since June. To be honest, it's been kind of a tough break. While I've been getting great news and seeing tons a progress, Kate hasn't had it so easy. Right before I had my surgery, she found out that her tumor hadn't shrunk enough for her to be a surgery candidate. She has to have two more rounds of chemo and they'll reevaluate after that. I CANNOT fathom having to endure two more rounds of chemo, she is a true warrior. I've gone through a lot of my treatment with blinders on in the sense that everyone should be having success like me. The truth is, many people aren't having much luck at all and that's been a huge wake-up call to me. It's so unfair and it makes me furious. Kate and I have literally had every treatment together since March so when she wasn't there when I had my last treatment I was seriously bummed. The good news is that I'll be there for her last chemo treatment in a few weeks and we'll be back on track. I can't really explain how much it means to have someone going through what I'm going through and be able to share the experience. I guess it makes having cancer feel a little less lonely.

I have approximately 45 doctors appointments next week. Not really, but it feels like that many. I was hoping to get home to Virginia before radiation started but now it's looking like I will have to wait until after. Everybody wants a piece of my day! Gosh darn it's hard being this popular... Oh well, there's nothing like Georgia in August. Cool and breezy... under the AC vent at least.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Updates and More Updates

I know, I know, I totally left you hanging with that last post. The nerve, right? The problem is I have too much going on. Today is your lucky day because I have 5ish minutes to spare. So, let's see...updates

Steve fixed my iPhone. If it's possible to win husband of the year at least 5 times in one year then he totally gets the prize. It took him a couple of hours and he completely dismantled my phone (which has approximately 1,000 small parts) but it works. That said, the flash light is still on, although somewhat dimmer. Whatever, as long as the phone works, the other stuff can malfunction all it wants to. I'm pretty sure the next time my phone takes an unplanned flight it's going to die or shatter into a million pieces just to prove a point.

I had two drains removed last Wednesday and one removed today. Only one left!! If things continue to go well, Iwill  have it taken out Wednesday or Thursday of this week. That's huge progress people! It's been such a relief to have them taken out - if you've ever had stitches that started to itch because they were ready to come out, this is very similar. That and the disgustingness that is having to deal with drains in the first place. Ick!!

I met my radiation oncologist last week as well. She kicks serious ass and I want to go have drinks with her. She's really funny and down to earth. As she was reading over my chart, she stopped and asked me, "Did you just say 'what the shit just happened' when you were diagnosed?". I couldn't have phrased it better myself! I'm looking forward to working with her. I wasn't really worried about radiation as I've been expecting it from the beginning, but it was good to learn more about the process, which is specifically tailored to each person. As of right now, we're planning on me doing 7 weeks of radiation, 5 days a week. Can't wait! Well, I mean, I'm not excited about the prospect of being radiated but it'll be another check mark in the box once it's done. We're not sure of the exact start date yet and I'm still healing from my surgery, but probably before the end of August.

So, all in all, things are going well. Simon is eating us out of house and home and over the weekend he figured out how to "talk". Nothing like baby jabber to make you smile. Simon cracks himself up, often. It really is funny. I think he really freaked Stella out when he started his "talking" (which is at top volume, in case you were wondering) and she would start screaming which would make Simon laugh even harder. It's not a restful place around here. Steve and I did manage to actually watch a movie (from our couch, the planning it would take to GO to an actuall movie is unthinkable right now) this weekend. Don't judge but we finally watched Bridesmaids. Hilarious!! A perfect end to the weekend. And so, another week begins...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Because I'm Awesome...

And I mean that as sarcastically as possible. I feel like blowing something up. I felt like I should just get that out right away. I believe it sets an important tone for this post... I managed to break my phone (again) today. That is how I started my day of awesomeness as I'm now referring to it. My iPhone flew down the steps on a solo trip as Simon and I fell together. Not to worry, we're both fine, Simon cried because his hair got wet (such a boy!) from the glass of water that also went flying. I suppose it's obvious at this point why I was never selected for Team USA... In my stunning display of grace I somehow managed to not shatter the glass, not injure myself or the child and destroy my phone. I didn't shatter the screen. Instead, the camera flash is now on (going on hour 8...) and I can't use the touch screen. The phone itself is working fine - calls and texts are coming in, etc. But I can do nothing...aughhhhhh! So, if you need me, email is your best bet.

It's been awhile since I've had a chance to update the blog. Part of the problem is that I can't see. It's not a cancer problem, I think I just need a new prescription, it's been two years (at least). I'm totally one of those people who has two-week disposable contact lenses and wears them for at least a month or two. Flame away!! I asked the eye doc about it once and he said as long as they weren't irritating my eyes, it wouldn't kill me. 1-800Contacts stalks me like a bad habit. No, I don't need a refill because I still have plenty of boxes! I would never describe myself as a frugal person, but for some reason when it comes to contacts, I'm a regular penny pincher.

In my spare time between falling down staircases and breaking iPhones I am recovering from my surgery. I had 400 appointments last Friday (not really, but, I'm having a bad day, so just play along). My oncologist was very happy with the path report (which, by the way, was FANTASTIC! Zero (0) infected lymph nodes) from my surgery. My breast surgeon said it was the "best path report ever", not that I'm bragging or anything... She has me set up to meet my radiation oncologist (tomorrow) and also started me on a bone builder along with my Herceptin treatment. I asked the staff if I should watch for any side effects and they said I should be fine. Oh right. Chemo didn't really phase me, but Zometra nearly killed me (not really). I felt HORRIBLE. I would compare it to feeling like the flu (aches, chills, etc). Luckily it was just for a day, but it certainly wasn't fun. I looked the drug info up online it emphasized in bold letters to be sure to drink a ton of water before treatment. Well, since I didn't know I was getting treatment, obviously I didn't drink gallons of water (which I did before every chemo treatment). I'm sure that didn't help my reaction to the drug. My wonderful Friday the 13th continued with not being able to get my drains out... yay. I would have to wait until Wednesday (tomorrow).

So, tomorrow is another day of marathon appointments. I really hope tomorrow is better than today. I might have to take up pyrotechnics or something...

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Truth About Percocet

Why, hello there! Yes, I'm alive but it's been an interesting ride. So, it would appear that I'm not actually allergic to Percocet because I had the same reaction to the second pain killer they put me on. The new (and current) theory was that the itching was from the anesthesia. That's some wicked stuff! However, the painkillers did end up making me sick (I mean, seriously, what the HELL? Who's idea was it to kick me while I'm down?) so I dropped them cold turkey Saturday morning and had the pleasure of suffering withdrawl (I would make a terrible junkie) for the next 36 hours. Good times, really. Talk about a hangover from hell... I am happy to say that I am feeling really good today, albeit sore. But that's okay, because I'll take a little soreness over feeling like an addict waiting for my next hit...

I was discharged from the hospital on Thursday morning and we were home by lunchtime. I was so happy to be home!! The staff at the hospital (doctors included) were nothing short of absolutely fantastic but it was just so good to be home and have the kids and Steve nearby. Steve did an amazing job of being Mr. Mom, maybe even better than me. Stella had bows ("pretties" as she refers to them) in her hair each day and Simon even had shoes on which is a feat I rarely attempt. I've been able to take it easy since I've gotten home, not really by choice but this has been good for me. Really. My mom arrived yesterday to help us out this week and allow Steve to go back to work.

So, all in all, it hasn't been too bad. I can't say that I've really been in any actual pain other than coming out of the initial anesthesia (that sucked). I'm sore but it's not bad. My appetite has been good (of course, ugh!) and I get around fine. Showering is a bit tricky but not impossible. Ask me about my drains sometime... oh come on, you knew there had to be some level of grossness :) And you're secretly curious, I know!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Good Drugs Gone Bad

Hello! Here I am! Thrilled to report that surgery went very well and I'm doing great! I am very sore (think somewhere between being kicked by a horse in the chest and being hit by a truck) but I'm not in any pain. I was able to go off all IV meds yesterday morning (huge progress!) and now am just on pain pills. I have had one small set back, I had an allergic reaction to the Percocet (I was really bummed because it was helping considerably!) and started itching like I'd rolled around in poison ivy. So, no more Percocet for me but the new drug seems to be working okay. I'm mobile, which is great. The nurses have had me walking the halls and I can get in and out of bed on my own (awesome progress!). I was allowed to have coffee this morning, thank you God for caffeine! If all continues to go well, I'll get to go home tomorrow, yay! The staff has been blown away at how well I'm doing and hopefully that will continue. I'm so glad to have this first surgery out of the way! I will have a couple of follow-up surgeries further down the road just to finish up reconstruction on my right side. So, all in all, things are going well. My goal for today is convincing the staff to let me take a shower... It's the little things, but I am dying to feel clean! This is the first time I'm thankful that I shaved my head. My hair would be rivaling Medusa at the moment! Happy 4th of July to everyone! I'm hoping maybe I'll have a view of fire works from my window, but if not, I'll catch some on TV. I'm mostly going to miss grilling out tonight (I'd kill for a juicy, grilled burger and a beer) but that's ok. Today I'm thankful to be an American and have access to best possible medical care and team!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Independence Day!

Tomorrow is D-Day! It's so hard to believe surgery day has finally arrived. I'm still not sure I fully comprehend just what I've gotten myself into (not that I really had much of a choice) but that's neither here nor there at this point. I am anxious for tomorrow to be here and gone. The surgery itself doesn't really worry me too much but there is always that unknown factor that will keep me up tonight. Luckily, we had a nice relaxing, normal (or, as normal as it ever gets with two small children!) weekend. We were able to get some things done around the house and catch up with friends. Yay for Champagne on Sunday afternoons! It was the perfect way to spend the time on this insanely hot weekend. Atlanta set at all time record yesterday for a temp of 106. Yup, we are sizzling here in the south!

Tomorrow is a red letter day for a couple of reasons. Obviously, my surgery is a big deal, no question there. My grandmother is being laid to rest tomorrow as well. Yes, she did pass away in May but was cremated. She will be buried in Arlington National Cemetary (which explains the delay - you have to wait for Arlington to contact you with the date and time) next to my grandfather. I really hate that I can't be there but I will certainly be there in spirit. It's my hope that my grandmother will also be there in spirit with me during my surgery tomorrow. She is, afterall, my fairy grandmother. She would expect me to stand tall and keep my chin up, no matter what the situation. I'm going to do my best!

I'm not sure when I'll next be able to update the blog. While highly entertaining, I'm sure that writing on pain killers will not be one of my finer moments. I won't be taking the laptop to the hospital and my typing on the iPad is atrociously bad. Maybe I'll throw caution to the wind and have Steve post an update... I'm getting all sorts of crazy up in here!

I did want to say how much I appreciate all of the phone calls, texts, emails and visits that I've had today, wishing me well and offers of prayers and support. Please know how much they all mean to both Steve and I. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives. I know I'll never quite be able to explain just how much hope I've taken from all of the amazing people who've touched my life, especially on this unexpected journey the past few months. Thank you so much and I love you all!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Control Freak

It's a Friday and I'm not getting treatment, hooray! Now that I am on the three week Herceptin plan, I get two weeks off - fantastic! I just realized that Sunday is July 1 - how is that possible? Didn't summer just start??? While at Target this week I saw them putting out "back-to-school" supplies. What? Poor kids (and teachers!) enjoy summer while you can and newsflash: Christmas decor will now be out in July...ugh!!! Why do we have to rush through everything? Just when you start to feel organized and together, BAM it's August and have you started your Christmas shopping yet??? Screw the other holidays that come before Christmas... it's so frustrating! I happen to love both Halloween AND Thanksgiving so just back off Retail Gods!

I will admit that I'm a little stressed. Along with having major surgery next week, I am also leaving my children in the very capable hands of Steve for a few days while I'm in the hospital. Oh sure, I know they'll be fine and probably have a blast with some Daddy-only time but, well, yes, I am a control freak. It's not that I don't think Steve will stick to the basic routine, but he just doesn't love a timetable the way I do. Le sigh, I know I have issues and I'm my own worst enemy when it comes to being in charge and having things done my way. Simon is not on a strict eating schedule (despite my best efforts!) but we have finally gotten into a somewhat "predictable" pattern. Trying to balance solids and formula has been a challenge but I dare to say that we're making progress. Simon has a tendency to frazzle Steve (and me- he can be the most frustrating child!) so it will be interesting to see who wins the battle of the wills. Stella should be a piece of cake, she thinks the sun rises and sets with Daddy!

Am I dreading surgery? No, not really. I am nervous about the recovery, especially when dealing with the kids. I know we'll make it work but it's tough not knowing how I'll feel. Several women have told me that they thought chemo was the hardest thing they've ever done if I can make it through that, surgery should be a breeze. But, here's the thing, chemo wasn't that bad for me. I would never say it was easy or that I would do it again (that's a giant HELL NO!) but all in all, a fairly positive experience when all said and done. Does that mean I'll have a tougher time with surgery? The old Erin would speculate and pontificate on this until she worried to death. The new Erin? She's a little wary of her new look (temporary, at least!) and a lot pissed off that she's in this mess to being with. She's got too much to do!! **Shrug** at least I'll get to spend a mini "vacation" at Hotel Northside (aka: Northside Hospital) and nothing better to do than sleep and read. Not a bad deal when you think about it!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Heat Wave!

We made it! Steve returned Friday evening and we were excited to see him. I swear we've been in 5th gear ever since! I helped host a baby shower for a good friend on Saturday night which was a total blast. It was nice to have a night out with Steve and our friends! My parents were kind enough to babysit so we could enjoy our evening. They headed back to Virginia early Sunday morning.

This week I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get everything done before July 2 (my surgery). Yesterday I had my final consult with the plastic surgeon and some routine pre-surgery testing completed at the hospital. Between that, running errands and sitting in endless traffic, I'm exhausted with only a few minutes to spare.

Summer is officially here in Atlanta. Lord, it's been HOT! We've been spoiled for most of June with temps in the low 80's instead of the 90's with 6,000% humidity. This weekend highs are supposed to be around 111 degrees. That's insane! As Steve would say, that's "Africa hot". Since we don't live in Africa and don't currently have a trip planned there anytime soon (I would love to go at some point!) I reserve the right to complain about the heat. Every night I say a special thanks to the AC gods and pray that our units stay happy during this heat wave. I have no idea how people functioned without AC back in the day and I'm really not looking to have an "authentic" experience. EVER.

The bugs in the south are huge and plentiful. To my northern friends, if you haven't met a Palmetto bug, it's quite an experience, especially when they catch you by surprise (they look like GIANT cockroaches). We have our share of those and many other delightful critters. This summer we are having a serious yellow jacket problem. Yes, Steve did go to Ga Tech for grad school, home of the yellow jackets, but we don't welcome the real deal! Steve has found at least 7 nests in our yard (when we've previsouly had none!) in past couple of weeks. I'm not sure why they're so prevelent, but holy moly they're everywhere! Steve was stung by one a couple of weeks ago and he looked like a burn victim (ask me sometime about Steve's strange reactions to bug bites...). He's worked really hard on our yard so the kids have a place to play (other than the concrete driveway!) and now we're afraid to let Stella run around in the grass for fear of her getting stung...aughhhh!

We're attempting to stay cool this week as the temperatures climb. It's times like this that I really wish our neighborhood had a pool. I'm not even sure how refreshing it would be considering it's been so warm. So, welcome summer, please don't make us melt!