January 31, 2011

Quick note

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

Not feeling like saying much tonight--this cold is bugging the crap out of me! On top of that is the snow, and I really should be at work to help with a class first thing in the AM...That, and we've got another family issue to figure out. I'll fill you in tomorrow.

January 29, 2011

The kindness of strangers

Good day/Bad day?: Good+ good

So my Saturday was breakfast, walk to the art museum and some quality time and lunch there, back to the inn for whirlpool bath and a nap (I underestimated how tired I get these days and how sore my feet get), then a movie (Black Swan--remind me not to let anyone film my descent into madness...), then to the pub. It was an interesting day.

It was also a little melancholy. Having lunch at the museum cafe, it was a place where mom and I had sat once, and I wound up walking through some what ifs (if she were still around...). Then as I was in the bathroom there, and I had a woman walk up to me and put her arm around me and tell me "I was there before, and I'm not scared for you. You'll be fine." Then a young woman on the elevator told me to have a good day as she got off. When I went to the pub, the hotel desk clerk brought me over to the group of regulars (older WI and Irish gentlemen) and introduced me around--she thought is was great that I was out and about on my own while I was still getting treatment, was very kind. People were being so nice and going out of their way to do it. Thanks, world!

Sunday was breakfast and whirlpool bath, then indoor market, then exploring, then brief shopping before picking up Olive. She got bigger and smarter in 2 days, I swear. Then home to see Ben, who's "relaxing" weekend was not as it was supposed to be!

I wound up making this trip kind of a memory lane on purpose. I just needed it. Went by some old places with special meanings. Even drove around in the neighborhood where I grew up (it had been forever)--it's funny to recognize houses but forget who used to live there. Maybe it all helped to center me a little. Maybe it will all be undone in a day or 2! Oh, and I think I'm getting a cold. But hopefully no stomach flu. Back to the grind tomorrow...

The world (or Milwaukee) is my oyster

Good day/Bad day?: Fri was good, but...

First, Happy Birthday, Dad! Hope it's shaping up to be a good day and a good year.

It is nice to be in the Motherland, though I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself yet. So. Last night was smooth sailing to get into town and drop Olive off with the grandparents (maybe not smooth for her--she was just a little mad when I left!). Met up with Monica and we unwound and had dinner, and then headed over to the Ben Folds show, and then the stomach flu hit her! Poor thing. Her kids got it earlier in the day. She wound up heading back to IL early and I stayed at the show solo. (The show was great!) Now I'll have to choose my own adventure for the day. And I'll also hope that I don't get the flu--that would not be good on many levels.

Not a bad situation to be in, though. Better than Ben's night as he dealt with the furnace going out! From a cold night in the house, to a cold day of ice fishing... I can take it easy and just be self-indulgent today, hang out in the whirpool tub, take a nap, whatever (staying at County Clare, and they make lovely fluffy omelettes for breakfast). Or I could be more active, go explore the city, museum time, maybe a movie. I'm guessing it'll be a combo of both, but I'm just not sure in what order. I'll fill you in if there are highlights.

Still to have an Irish coffee. Tonight, definitely.

Have a good day!

January 27, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: mixed

The morning started off haphazardly with our AM routine, then the stupid drive to work took forever with snow, then miscommunications at work, then...

I don't know. Things are a little off in general lately. (But I did have a wonderful dinner out with Ben last night and another wonderful one with Mia & Erica tonight!) I'm hoping this weekend resets things. Just feel like I'm not communicating well in general, especially about the cancer because I'm sick of the sound of it so I'm shutting up a little. I think I've said this before, but the whole idea of putting my thoughts out there on a regular basis goes against my nature and feels self-indulgent at times. Maybe it would help me to answer some questions. Does anyone have any questions? Give me an assignment.

January 26, 2011

3-minute diversion

Ben & I can't get enough sometimes, so we're just going to assume the world is waiting for more morsels of Olive goodness. Olive and lasagna=all done!

January 25, 2011

When life gives you lemons, have an Irish coffee

Good day/Bad day?: Okay

It was an alright work day, but I'm having these intermittent pains kind of shooting through my body...

Thanks to all who gave me supportive words after my post yesterday! It wasn't a deep crisis. It truly was more of a moment for me where I looked down and said "WTF?", then went and looked in the mirror and said "WTF?" again. Seriously, sometimes life moves along so rapidly that you are suddenly standing at point B not remembering ever having left point A. It can be amazing what you have to integrate to keep going, but people do it all the time with things far more horrific.

I was just pretty sick of it all yesterday. I'm all for making lemonade out of lemons, but you can sure get sick of lemonade after a while. Especially in winter! But I will get a respite this weekend--thanks to the in-laws for arranging for me to see the show in Milw Fri night, plus staying two nights at an inn to relax and get away from it all. I also get to hang out with Monica! And it's an Irish inn with a pub, so I'll enjoy an Irish coffee...

January 24, 2011

Not fair

Good day/Bad day?: Bleh

Took the weekend off from blogging becuase it gets old to tell you that I feel like crap after chemo. Thanks to Julie for helping out on Sat. Thanks to the Packers for winning for me on Sunday. Yep, all for me!

Today, went in to work for the morning and then just felt yishy so I went home and napped. Could have napped all day.

Yesterday I had a moment (or a few) where all of this just hit me. I was looking down at my chest and feeling sad and mad, then looking at my bald head and thinking, yeah, I can handle all this in one way or another, but it's not fair. Nope, just not. I want to be back to normal.

But I get to be excited about this week, at least...

January 21, 2011

Taxol #4

Good day/ Bad day?: Chemo day

Thanks to Dad for being my chemo buddy today! At least it wasn't as early this AM, and I got another decent nap in over the 3 hours of the infusion. Feeling the usual woozy tonight. Not much to talk about.

Just looking forward to next week--Restaurant week x2 nights, then to Milwaukee to see Ben Folds and have some fun! Now I just have to get through the bone pain to earn it...

January 19, 2011

Finding balance

Good day/Bad day?: pretty good

Pretty ordinary day. That's not bad.

I'm coming to realize that I've turned a corner at some point. Each day is not dominated by cancer talk and dealing with the details of it. Yay! Most of my days recently have been more focused on the day-to-day--Olive, Ben, Punkin', work, friends. That's plenty, but good. But not so good is that I'm not super-confident in my thought process right now. I'm pretty aware that I'm not as sharp as (I like to think) I usually am. It's making me a little hesitant to jump into things and make decisions. We'll see how that all pans out.

Speaking of decisions...spa time at Kohler or long weekend in NM? Help!

January 17, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Good but tiring

The weekend was good--nothing too exciting, but just some good family time and 2 breakfasts out! (One of my favorite things is breakfast, and another is having someone else cook...) And the glorious Packers! We had a good time watching the game with Joel & Holli. Oh yeah, Friday in Kenosha was nice. Took a few special little things to remind me of Gram and the family.

Today half my work day was spent talking about personality types. The management at work was asked to take the Myers-Briggs test to see how the mix affects the organization, etc., etc. For those who are curious, I'm an INFJ. (Google it if you're really truly curious!) It's one of the most rare types (I'm a real priceless gem), motivated by strong values, with an unusually rich inner life but hard to get to know, private/reserved. Blah, blah, blah. One interesting tidbit I saw was that when under stress, an INFJ might tend to tell others how well they're coping--some days I feel like I do that a lot. I actually find the whole thing very interesting, esp how the different personalities interact and balance out, what drives us nuts about other people, etc.

Anywho. I've gotten lots of enthusiastic feedback on Olive's video! She's getting much better, but walking's still not her favorite thing, esp when she's tired or cranky. Her vocab/communication is just charming and consistently surprises me. Good stuff, this parenting!

Thanks to Mia for a giant pan of spinach noodle goodness...

January 13, 2011

That's my girl

Good day/Bad day?: long and tiring

but good, too. Yep, Olive's skills are fo real. I gotta cut her some slack for that video because she had 2 thresholds to deal with in that little space, too! I do enjoy her showing off that she's trying to say "bath"--she does pretty well with a lot of words. I'm keeping it short and sweet tonight. Tomorrow I've taken the day off to go back to Kenosha and sort through some Gram stuff with our aunts. It'll be nice to see them. Goodnight. Sleep tight.

Video proof

A non cancer related post.

In case anyone was doubting the reports that Olive is sauntering around the villa, here's some video to prove it. This took some doing, since either no camera was around or she'd sit down and do all her cute camera faces as soon as she saw the lens. So, apologies for the cell phone video. I assure you it's as real as those Area 51 videos.

January 12, 2011

Coming around

Good day/Bad day?: Better

First, thanks to you all who supported me in my funk but didn't try to pep-talk me out of it. That would be annoying.

I was lucky enough to have some coworkers who were feeling as absurd as I was this AM (thank you, too, to all who humored me as I made them watch the SNL Bjork & Charles Barkley skit--it's what I need sometimes!). Then we had an employee appreciation night, too.

If I don't always say much about work, it's really a good thing. It's because I'm lucky enough to be able to take it for granted. HospiceCare really is a special place to work, full of people who are there because they believe strongly in it. In my few years with them, they have been there through many major life events (deaths, childbirths, now this) and have become a great support system. I'm so glad we had hospice support (in Madison and Kenosha) for our family with my mom, uncle, and grandma. I sound a little Polyanna-ish about it all, but I love my work!

Then I came home and put Olive to bed. Poor kid's got a fever again...

January 10, 2011

...but on a lighter note

Olive did walk to me when I picked her up from day care! She's not a super-big fan of walking yet, but she was giving it her best.

Also, thanks to Sue & Jon for soup and other goodies lately.

In a funk

Good day/Bad day?: Not great

I'm not sure how to share where I'm at today, and not sure why today is the way it is. Feeling a little introspective, I guess, looking both backwards and ahead.

I don't know why, but I'm looking back over my treatment course so far and having not regrets per se, but some questions for myself. Maybe more being hard on myself. Like why I haven't pursued other therapies more persistently--I've had acupuncture and craniosacral but not regularly, saw an integrative medicine MD but haven't done follow-up since, have taken some supplements but not consistently, etc., etc. I know it's never too late to start taking care of yourself and all that jazz, but right now for me it's been easier to just get lost in the routine and the everyday of home, work, child, husband and so forth rather than change my life. There's the whole school of thought that cancer's supposed to be a wake-up call and a chance to do that. Am I missing out on this chance? Am I missing the point of it all?

It's not that I haven't learned any lessons through this. I just still feel weird taking time to get focused on me and feel selfish in the process. I know, I also have plenty of people tell me I should be selfish right now, but it feels disingenuous and forced to do that. Not that I'm totally selfless and never selfish in everyday life, but I don't know if there's a way I can do it and still feel good and not bratty, you know?

So here I will struggle. It's also coming up now because, if cancer's this opportunity to treat myself right, then I also feel like I'm running out of time to do it! Really, 6 weeks isn't that much more time, and I don't feel like I'll be given the same leeway once treatment is done. Maybe, again, that's all in my head, but I expect the world will expect me to heal and move on in a timely manner. I've certainly heard about the grieving process and/or depression that comes for a lot of patients when the intensity of treatment and the support that comes with it comes to an end. I'm starting to anticipate it and it's worrying me. I know it's going to take me a long time to feel some sort of "normal" after Feb, so how do I share that with the rest of the world and get permission to be where I need to be with it?

So to lighten it up, what do I do to celebrate when I'm done? I'm open to suggestions.


Good day/Bad day?: well, the weekend wasn't fun

Saturday was okay, just low energy for most of it. Got a nice visit in with my friend Mike--haven't seen him in a long time. Thanks to Julie for helping out and giving Ben a break! Then the bone pain set in again. It starts at the base of the skull and my jaw, then the low back, then everywhere.

Sunday was just dealing with that, laying around and being very sore. At least the football was good. Today seems to be starting off a little better, a little less sore...

January 7, 2011

Taxol #3

Good day/Bad day?: chemo day

Thanks to Kathy for being today's chemo buddy--I told you it was boring! Nothing new here. Got the treatment, start feeling really washed out and pale an hour or 2 after. Tomorrow I'll go get my shot, and then the bone pain will start. It'll all be wrapped up hopefully by Monday and I'll go back to work.

Happy surprise! I had changed the dressing on my port site a couple of days ago and it wasn't looking pretty. I had let it be since then with a different dressing, and today when the nurse and I looked at it, it was healing much better. Still a ways to go, but happy surprise that it was making progress. I'm one of the nurses that's fascinated with wounds, so this is kinda cool in its own way.

Another happy surprise! Day care said that Olive stood up and took a couple of steps unprompted! She may walk before preschool yet...

Time to have a laying-low weekend.

January 6, 2011

Old Times

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Yep, just like old times with Sarah & Amanda here...except for the kiddie chaos! It was fun to have them here with Olive having 3 other playmates, but it does remind me that I'm getting older. Just yesterday we were buddies in college (the first time around), thinking it might be interesting to go into anthropology, and now we're all old, practical moms.

Tomorrow I get one treatment closer to the end! Here's hoping there's nothing that will get much worse before it's over. My old port site is healing really, really poorly, so I have to get that checked tomorrow, too.

There will only be 3 more treatments after that--anyone want to claim their opportunity to be a chemo buddy while you still have a chance? (Don't worry, I don't expect anyone to sign up for hours of sitting and waiting, and I'm well-covered.)

Exhausted now, with another 7am at the hospital morning. Goodnight!

January 4, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Good

The day was long, but sometimes meetings are good and productive. Not all, but some! I slept last night without being woken up by the cough, so that's progress, too.

Plus: Surprise babysitting by Kathy so Ben & I could go out to eat tonight! Now we'll have to see if we can work some magic for Restaurant Week...

Minus: Starting to have a little of the neuropathy that is the side effect of this chemo drug. Extremely subtle, and if I wasn't more familiar with it as a side effect from working with patients, I wouldn't know enough to pay attention. Right now it's just mild numbness.

January 3, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: kinda okay

...but this effing cough is driving me nuts and led Ben & me to a restless night. I worked most of the day for work, and have a very long, meeting-filled day tomorrow. I know, you're asking yourself, "How could I get in on this action? Sounds sweet!" Well, if I could let you take over, I would. I should be having a day off and doing something profound. Like organize the linen closet or clean my office.

January 2, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Good

I know a football game shouldn't determine my mood, but...awesome! Love me some Packers. The rest of the day was good to boot. Coffee and pecan kringle for breakfast (thanks Judy & Gary!), productive but relaxed day, and Jeff, Andrea & Julie came over to watch the game and have pizza as they came through town. Olive had a happy bath, Ben got to see an old friend of ours...all's well. Only downside was I was supposed to see a good friend, but that fell through.

Still coughing, and I swear I have a hernia now from it! For those of you on my case about it, I did call the MD on Thurs and they're not worried if I don't have a fever. The only current danger is annoyance.

I think I need another day off. I'm feeling pretty mellow and don't want to interrupt it. Looking forward to a fun day on Thurs this week--I have 2 great friends coming from out of town, first time we'll have all our kids together.

Since I'm not still calling anyone tonight, thanks Dad & Carol for the Christmas gifts! Wish I could have been there, talk to you soon...

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Good day/Bad day?: Good

(Still coughing...) Welcome to 2011! We actually made it 'til midnight last night. So the easiest thing to say is that 2011 out to be better than 2010, because it would be hard to be worse. We are troopers, but this has been 6 months of trial for me, our family, and our friends who have been so generous with their help. There is a little bit left to go, but I think the major adjustments have passed, major procedures done, etc.

Of course, there has been lemonade made out of the lemons. As I've talked about before, people have been so openly giving and supporting of me and the family--it's a bit like the concept of attending your own funeral. I have a new appreciation of Ben in many ways, even as this has tested the true partnership of our marriage. I have a different appreciation of motherhood. I have strengthened bonds with so many of my family members and close friends as they have shown up for me and let me be vulnerable when I needed to be.

Of course, there have been losses, too. Physical changes and accomodations have been numerous, and by body image is very different (even as I have a new confidence in how I am now). I lost my dear grandma. I miss my mom in new ways and miss the conversations about this and many things that I will never get to have with her.

So what to make of 2011? I have to believe that all I have done has been the best I could do at the time, and that I have made smart decisions for me and my family. I have to believe that I can get stronger and more energetic as the year unfolds. I need to devote some healing time to myself and need to figure out ways to do this effectively. There will be more difficult decisions to come (ovaries, I'm talking to you!), maybe this year or within a few anyway. I look forward to getting back to normal, whatever that may mean anymore.

Things will get better. Things are not that bad.

Happy New Year!