The Gang's All Here!

The Gang's All Here!

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!