The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

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...