The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

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!

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Only one more day until Steve comes home! In all actuality, I think we've done pretty well. It's been nice to have my parents here to run interference and help out. Stella is loving having Kitty and G here (aka, my parents).

I have a check-up tomorrow with my oncologist and my first Herceptin treatment that begins the three week cycle. I'll be doing the once every three week Herceptin treatment through January of 2013. It will be nice to not have to go there every week! I feel like I should be getting nervous about my surgery but I've been so busy I honestly haven't had much time to think about it. This is very un-Erin like. I am a worrier, it's just what I do. But, since my diagnosis I've gotten really good at rolling with the punches and taking things as they come. This is so not my normal, business like approach to life but it's working for me right now. With life being on the verge of out of control 95% of the time, I think it's my only option!! It's sort of the same way with my kids. Stella was so easy, I was able to keep her on a fairly tight schedule and I loved the predictability of each day. With Simon, ALL bets are off. The child refuses any sort of schedule (hell on my time-table loving heart) and for everything that Stella did easily, he makes it a monumental challenge (eating solids, napping, teething just to name a few). Le sigh... it's amazing how two kids from the same parents can be so very, very different.

I'm looking forward to this weeked. I'm helping to co-host a baby shower for some of our very good friends, it's going to be a blast! It will be nice to have Steve back in town and we can settle back into our "routine". Well, for a week anyway and then I have my surgery. All bets are off at that point! So, let the countdown begin...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Surviving the Weekend

The good news is that I'm updating the blog which means that I'm still alive (as are the children!) after 4 days on our own. Holy Bazinga I could not pull off the single parent gig, MAD PROPS to all of the single parents out there. I am EXHAUSTED! It is seriously tough being the 24 hour entertainment staff and police all alone. The kids have been great and we've had a lot of fun but I know I'll be just as excited as Stella when "Kitty" and "G"arrive tomorrow (otherwise known as, my parents!). Safety in numbers!

It's Father's Day, ironic, no? I know Steve is having a blast in Scotland, we've had a chance to Skype a few times (isn't technology just crazy cool when it works?). They've been experiencing "authentic" Scottish golf with driving rains, 40+mph winds and temps in the 50's. Gee, wish I was there...(not really). My idea of experiencing Soctland involves staying in a castle (with modern conveniences, of course!), chatting with the locals and obviously checking out the pub scene. I really would like to see Edinburgh and it's heaping serving of history. I am a history buff and that ranks right up there as fascinating for me.

Today I have been married to Steve for six years (poor guy!). I always enjoy thinking back to our big day and I still think it was perfect. I met Steve my freshman year at Virginia Tech while visiting a good friend. I went to JMU by the way, Go Dukes!! We hit it off right away but didn't actually start seeing each other until the following fall. We were never serious during our college years but he was always the guy I compared every other guy to. After school we did start dating serisouly but in true Steve fashion (he never rushes ANYTHING) that meant YEARS of dating. He decided to attend Georgia Tech to get his MBA and I stayed in in Virginia to finish up my Masters at UVA (and continue teaching). Fast forward to spring 2005, we got engaged and then married on June 17, 2006. The past six years have seen many ups and down but I can't imagine sharing it with anyone else. Of course this year has special meaning as we've added battling cancer (and winning!) to our list. We may not be together to celebrate today but that's okay because honestly, I'm just happy to be able to able to celebrate at all. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, the meaning of our vows is so much more poignant now and I'm grateful for that. I'm looking forward to 50 more years of celebrating!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Steve the Scot

We just returned home from dropping Steve off at the airport. He's heading to Scotland for the ultimate "guys" vacation. Steve and his brothers are taking his dad on a once in a lifetime trip to Scotland to "hit the links" otherwise known as golf. The highlight of their trip (and honestly, to me, the entire trip is a highlight) will be playing The Old Course at St. Andrews. Pretty cool stuff. I'm heading to Fiji for a sun soaked week relaxing poolside with a delicious fruity cocktail and big floppy hat. Just kidding!! I'll be "vacationing" in Atlanta with my darling children for a week....

In all serisouness I am really excited that Steve was able to go as scheduled on this trip. The boys have been planning it for almost a year and it's neat to see it finally here. There was concern after my diagnosis that Steve wouldn't be able to go but I'm really thankful that he could and have a week of fun. He's certainly earned it regarding the last few months of insanity!

On Sunday, June 17, Steve and I will have been married for six years. Time is just flying! We were laughing last night at how much our lives have changed since then (mostly for the better!). A house, two kids, two dogs (we miss you Shamrock!), several cars and jobs later, here we are. For better or for worse, it's been an amazing, hilarious, stressful, emotional and fantastic ride so far. I'm thrilled beyond words to be celebrating this particular anniversary, even if we are on two different continents. So, here's to you and me baby, and hoping for at least 50 more years to come. I love you!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Silence is Golden!

Most of the time, life is just full of irony. Sometimes I think it's funny, at the moment...not so much. What on earth am I talking about? Remember that cold I mentioned? Well, it's mostly gone and it took my voice with it. Freaking awesome. NOT. Why is losing my voice such a big deal? Only because I have 50,000 appointments to schedule and no one can hear me! Gah, I'm so frustrated!

I had an appointment today at the oncologists office to check my vitals and bloodwork. They were only mildly freaked out at my lack of a voice. I did manage to talk the nurse into letting me leave and honestly, I really don't feel bad, I just can't talk. Steve might even agree that this is a welcome break :) To add another layer of chaos to my day, I had to bring the kids with me. Luckily, they were very well behaved and managed to charm just about everyone. I know I shouldn't complain and really I'm not, but how come they're not perfect children at home?!?!? Anyway, while we were waiting I had a chance to chat with some of the Monday crowd. What's the Monday crowd? That would be the group that gets chemo on Mondays. Kate and I are members of the Friday crowd. In fact, Kate and I could almost be the same person, so close are our appointments and treatments. It's gotten so the staff asks if something is wrong if we're not together - it's funny :) And...I'm WAY off topic yet again. My point was that it was interesting chatting with some of the other patients. The women I spoke with both have had completely opposite experiences than me. They were both very, very ill with chemo and spent most of it in the hospital. I honestly can't even imagine how awful it must be for them. Chatting with them made me even more grateful for my very positive cancer experience. Yes, it's been a serious pain in the toosh, but overall, it's been tolerable and I've met some amazing people. I refer to them as my Cancer Friends which I guess sounds somewhat morbid, but in reality that is how we all met.

The big news of the day is that my surgery is officially on the books. I'll be having my double mastectomy on July 2, happy Independence Day to me! I will be managing to ruin yet another holiday for my family (it's becoming a tradition!) but honestly, I can't wait to have the surgery and move on. Oh, and yes, trying to set that up over the phone today was comical considering I have no voice... On that note, I'm going to go and make myself some hot tea (totally unappetizing considering the humidity today in Atlanta is like 467%) to try and convince my voice to return. Until then, "Silence is Golden!!"

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Killing Kyle

Well friends, it's official: I KILLED KYLE!!! Peace out you jerk, I'm a free woman! I had a follow-up MRI with my breast surgeon yesterday. She walked into the room and just said, "your MRI looks amazing, it's like the cancer was never there". Um WOW!!! She was really excited and I think a bit amazed at how well my body responded to the chemo. Of course she and my oncologist have been very positive regarding my prognosis all along, but as with most things in life, there are no guarantees. This is not to say that I don't have a long way to go towards my recovery, but to know that the cancer is gone is a HUGE plus :)

Yesterday was actually even longer than I expected it to be. Dealing with cancer has taught me *some* patience but even I have my limits. I started my day with my weekly Herpceptin treatment which was "supposed" to be at 11:15. And wouldn't you know the ONE day I need them to be running on time, they lost my paperwork and I sat there for an HOUR waiting, ugh. Not a huge deal other than I didn't get to eat lunch because I had to drive like a terrorist to make it to my MRI without being too late. I was supposed to have my MRI at one and then my biopsy at three, needless to say I left the office at 5pm, just in time for Friday traffic, wahoo! Oh well, it's done and I certainly can't complain about the results!

We don't have a crazy weekend planned and I think my cold is finally heading out. We're going to celebrate tonight with some steaks on the grill and a bottle of wine. That's certainly my idea of a happy celebration :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Southern Charm

An important note: the mac and cheese from Panera is life-altering. It might even contain the cure for cancer, I'm not sure but damn, it's good. I'm sure it's also contributing to my ever expanding ass, but this week, I'm over it. I managed to escape strep throat and an ear infection from the kids, but did catch a cold, yay. Is there anything more frustrating than a summer cold?!?! So, a cold combined with chemo recovery week is every bit as fantastic as you might imagine. Luckily, the chemo part has just about worn off and I **think** the cold is on it's way out.

It's been a wild couple of weeks between traveling, chemo and all the other random insanities that turn up unexpectedly. Our insurance fiasco has been fixed (even though I was fully prepared to go postal on several different's the Irish in me, what can I say?) and I was able to get all of my testing scheduled. Tomorrow will be a busy day! I have a Herceptin treatment, then an MRI followed by a punch biopsy (which is pretty much as lovely as it sounds!). I'm tired just thinking about tomorrow! My PET Scan will be next Tuesday and then it's just waiting for my surgery. It's hard to believe that it's already!

My kids continue to exasperate and overjoy me on a daily basis. Stella has no shortage of things to say (she is MY child, afterall :)) and we get such a kick out of listening to her. For example, when I put her down for a nap, I "encourage" her to close her eyes and rest. I was listening to her chatter on the monitor yesterday and it went something like this: "You OPEN the eyes, you CLOSE the eyes". On and on she went until I was crying because I was laughing so hard! It's the little things... While my mom was visiting we decided to get Stella a tricycle. She's OBSESSED with bikes and talks about them all.the.time. She refers to the trike as her bicycle; pronounced: biiiiicycle. The child has a pretty intense southern accent, from where, I'm not sure. Cetainly not from my Yankee husband (how northern transplants are referred to down here, in case you were wondering) and I'm pretty Virginia (I think) so who knows. Some of her other phrases that we love include: "The Hill (prounounced: Heeeeel), My Colors (pronounced: Mah Cullllors), and Carry You (which means carry her...). The Stella-isms certainly make for animated conversation!

Simon is still my grumpy old man but happier these days. He is sleeping almost 12 hours at night (LOVE him for that!) and rolling around to get where he needs to go. Simon is NOT a fan of solid foods and each day we battle him trying to get him to eat. The boy just loves his milk! Simon is now sitting up and thinks this is perhaps the coolest thing ever, second to big sister of course. He absolutely thinks the sun rises and sets with Stella. The two of them are starting to interact together and it just warms my heart to see them playing together. It's moments like this that make all the other insanity worth it. Please remind me of these words when Steve heads to Scotland next week to play golf and I'm left alone with my darling children for a week... please! And that's a tale for another day...

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


It's official, I'm done with chemo! I'm still feeling my post-chemo haze but it's a great feeling to know that I don't have to go down this road again (hopefully never again). Round 6 is pretty much shaping up to be what I'd been told...rough. I woudn't say that I feel any worse than normal, but this round hit almost right away and I'm still reeling a little bit. Oh well, all for the greater good or something like that, right? Luckily my mom was here which was a tremendous help and I caught up on a little rest.

I'd like to say that I've been taking it easy but, well, that's just not the way life works. I met with my oncologist on Friday and we've set the wheels in motion for the next steps. I was told that I'm a "priority" (I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing?!?) and to not take no for an answer. My oncologist was fired up enough that she personally texted the breast surgeon to make sure my surgery is scheduled ASAP. I have some follow-up tests this week and another PET Scan next week. Once all of the testing is complete, I just need to be healthy enough for surgery, which I should be as I've not had any issues so far, KNOCK ON WOOD!

So, for now, I'm going to take it easy and enjoy this stormy afternoon. If I have to deal with even ONE more idiot on the phone or in person today I'm likely to get arrested. I'm a patient person, but I have ZERO tolerance for stupid, in any form. So, yes, BCBS, this would be directed at you and your pathetic, clerical errors. I really don't appreciate being called by multiple doctors offices to inform me that my insurance has been cancelled (all without my knowledge, by the way) when, in fact, my insurance HAS NOT been cancelled. I'm not afraid to pull the cancer card and give a piece of my mind (even if on fact, it might be more entertaining)!  I'm also going to fantasize about what the world will be like when I'm in charge and running things. It can only be an improvement, right?