June 30, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: alright, considering

Olive's surgery went well even if it took a lot longer than usual. She's resting well, we're getting pain under control (muscle spasms are the most uncomfortable part). Mama sleeping at hospital, Daddy taking care of some stuff at home tonight. She's a good girl--in a pretty good mood when she's not obviously hurting. Had her first jello experience, too. We'll post some pics soon, maybe even some of when they gave her the happy juice before surgery...

June 29, 2011

The Build-up

Good day/Bad day?: Phhhht

Long week just to get to Thursday...pretty full days, including a Gilda's Club orientation/tour on Monday evening with Ben and lots of rigamarole in my head to get ready for the surgery. It's one of those things where you get to a point that you've preplanned as much as you're mentally able to, and then you just want to get it done so you can actually start figuring out all the things you know you'll need to figure out. Same feeling for Olive's surgery as it was for all my treatments, I guess. Once it's happening, even if it's crappy, at least you can act on it!

Surgery is 11am, should last a little over 2 hrs. I go back and forth between telling myself it's a pretty routine thing and doing the "NOT MY BABY!" internal cry. We'll see how it goes--one of the worst parts my just be dealing with her when she can't eat all morning... Other than that, I'm totally mentally checked out.

Thanks to all that are offering to help, sending little gifts, making cookies, etc. It always helps to see these tangible signs of caring when we feel like it's us against the world.

We'll keep you posted--I'll be staying the night with her, so we'll get word out as soon as we are able...

June 25, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: Good

...or Happy Crapiversary, or the Worst Year of the Rest of My Life. Oh, whatever. I don't know quite what to think to put this into perspective as a date. One year ago today, I received my biopsy results and cancer diagnosis. I was at work, had my office to myself, and called the poor nurse practitioner back to get the news over the phone. What happened next was all a blur--don't remember who I called, who I told at work, how quickly I got out of there...

So now what does that mean? Is today when I consider myself a 1-year survivor? Or a year after treatment? It starts to all seem a little arbitrary. Ben was wondering why I wasn't more positive about this year marker, thinks I should celebrate that I fought this and made it through, largely intact:). Well, I guess it can be a starting point. As someone said to me today, time to stop being on defense and start being on offense!

So I spent a lovely, busy, draining day hanging out with my favorite gal (3 playgrounds, farmer's market, bike ride). I also had a break in the middle of the day to finally get in for some more craniosacral work. There's so much hurt and strain stored in my right shoulder, it's hard to undo but she made some progress. I've spent this last year remodeling and protecting myself so much that I feel I was actually transforming into a turtle and hiding in a shell--my shoulders slowly getting stuck more & more forward. Time to start working off some of those layers. Time to start working through some of this business.

(BTW, night #1 of Operation Big-girl Bed was a rousing success. No trying to crawl out of bed, slept as well as usual, woke up and just started rolling around and playing with her stuffed animals. I thought for sure Ben or I would have to sleep in there or she'd want the crib--guess we can officially move that out now!)

Thanks, all, for being there for the long haul...

June 23, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: not bad

The last couple of days have been so-so--yesterday was a full-day training (woo!) for work, followed by dinner out with the hubby (thanks Julie!). Today, work, work, followed by home time while Ben was out & about, with help from Myra to entertain Olive. Ben & I sat down with day care this AM and talked through the cast time--they are fine with it all, feel well-prepared because they had an older kid in one a year or 2 ago. They're good folks. She'll stay with her same group of buddies most of the time, too.

I had a weird moment in that training yesterday. Something the speaker was talking about triggered a flashback of sorts for me, and I could feel some of the sensations I had while I received chemo--that weird, chemical nausea feeling. Hope I don't have too many of those...

One week of mobility left. She's making the most of it, nonstop. Want to think of a place to take her for swimming time before she can't.

June 21, 2011

Okay, okay

Good day/Bad day?: okay

Alright, people, just checking if you were awake! I appreciate the response to me feeling guilty, feeling like I should do more, etc. Sometimes a girl needs to go fishing for a little affirmation that she's okay, that she still has the understanding of people as she needs to keep asking for help... because I do need it. In the course of all this, too, I feel like I need time and space to process all of this and decide what the heck to make of this experience. But it's a lot to ask for a full understanding--I know that. I'm okay with that, too.

Olive is not a fan of thunder. We tried to make it a little less scary by imitating the thunder sounds. We'll see how well she sleeps tonight...

June 20, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: long

Happy Belated Father's Day, Dad & Bruce! And Ben! And the rest of you, too.

The weekend was busy and hot and humid--sometimes that's what overtakes me. Good things to it, hung out with the Montana girls for a while and that was nice, but part way through it I just hit the wall and almost couldn't function. It had been a long Saturday outside, even with a nap, and I'm fight off what I thought was allergies but is turning into a bug (nice phlegmy cough). Felt like a dishrag.

Tried to give Ben a nice Father's Day--made him breakfast and he got to go fishing--but again was really wiped out. Today, same thing but there's too much happening at work to miss days until the end of the week. Ever go, go, go and feel like you're not getting anywhere? That's how I'm feeling. Too much to do always, and I feel if I sit down for an hour that I'm being lazy, when in fact that's what I want to do more of. It's a fine line to walk, and I can only think about how I'm just leaving things for me or others later. Trying to work it out.

I haven't figured out what it's going to be like when Olive's immobile--part of me thinks it'll be less work chasing her around, but then I think we'll have to compensate with more mental stimulation. That might be equally as exhausting for me right now. My brain is not at full throttle very easily these days.

But anyway, woe is me. Switching notes, Olive got her first real haircut (thanks, Holli!) into a cute little bob with bangs. Very cute, still gets full of sweat and sunscreen after a warm day! And I broke the news to Ben tonight that I'm keeping the hair clipper-short this summer, will plan to grow it out after the cast maintenance time is over. I have to say, it's the one haircut I've ever felt really confident about--like there is no other better hairdo I should try at the moment, because this is the option...

June 16, 2011


Good day/Bad day?: pretty good but tiring

I've been having some full days at work lately, which for me is a long, long day. I'm feeling a little bad about taking extra hours or days off because I'll be taking 2 weeks for Olive's surgery/recovery.

So, I haven't talked a huge amount our marriage here because I want to keep a lot of what is between Ben & me just between us. But I don't think it's too much to reveal that--guess what?--all of this has been a big challenge for our relationship. The cancer and the surgery and the treatment was enough, but now just as we try to take a breath, there's the next challenge. And then there's all the changes to me that won't go away. And there's all the concern for what this could mean for the future. And for Olive's risks. And risks for another kid. And. And. And. And this is the stuff of a life together.

Needless to say, Ben & I both have our fair share of resentment toward this stupid disease. Unfortunately, it can become easy to let that bleed into resentment toward each other. Or at least the impression that there's resentment toward each other. Of course, still feeling a little vulnerable and guilty with all this havoc, I'm very prone to guessing that it's there. We're working it all out, but needless to say there have been more deep conversations about the state of things than a thousand Bens would ever sign up to have. So we keep at it.

Just like Johnny and June...

June 14, 2011

Bragging rights

Good day/Bad day?: Good

Just a quicky tonight. Had my one month follow-up with radiation oncology today. Wow, was that the longest month ever--it all seems like forever ago! Good that it seems far-removed, I guess. I got kudos on my skin healing well from the MD, thanks especially to my age. Way to go, me, for getting cancer so young!!

Anyway, just had to brag like a proud mama. Olive counted up to 8 today, only forgot the 1 and 6 a couple of times, but overall pretty awesome! She's also pretty excited that she knows she has elbows now, loves airplanes "up in the sky"...

June 13, 2011

Back to business

Good week/Bad week?: pretty good

We're in kind of busy-mode until Olive has her surgery, so I'll be a little more sporadic these days. What to catch up on? Pretty ordinary week, and then we had a nice, but too short, weekend up in Mpls visiting Monikandyland (with a new, adorable attraction!). Always nice to spend time together, even if our attention is severely divided these days by a toddler and an infant... It's amazing how quickly you forget the not-sleeping days, but I guess the lack of sleep is exactly why it's a blur. I was fully prepared to be struck by baby-fever, but while I really liked spending time with her, it didn't make me feel like I need to have one NOW. I guess my body's trying to be reasonable with me and cut me some slack so I can recover for a while--then we'll see how hard that ongoing decision becomes.

In the meantime, we prepare for Miss Olive's Special Summer. She had her pre-op appt with a nurse practitioner on Thurs and it's all-system's go. She'll likely be out-of-sorts for a week to 10 days and then could go back to day care. I'll plan to stay home with her for 2 weeks and hope we've got a new routine down by then. In the next weeks we need to transition her to a big-girl bed, too, so we don't spring that on her at the same time as the cast. It's going to be impossible to lift her in and out of the crib with all that weight, and the bed will give us a surface to change diapers on, too. One of us will probably sleep with her to get her okay with it, so it may be a long few weeks here.

I'm trying to look on the bright side of the whole ordeal, too. As I watch her play and know about it now, I can see that compensating for that hip really tires her out some days, and she definitely gets more clumsy. She really wants to jump, too, and can't quite get that to work. It'll be good for her to get back on track as soon as possible. AND, she'll be a captive audience all summer. It's not like she isn't constantly on the go right now, so once we figure it out we'll have a lot less chasing and herding to do. Got some shopping to do--twin mattress, bedding, bean bag chair (for propping her up), maybe a wagon, stationary activities...

I'm still feeling old, sore, worn out. But okay, too. My new gauge of time elapsed is my toenails. ? Well, since the chemo messed them up royally, there's this definitely line about midway where the sickly nail ends and the healthy pink nail begins. Don't judge--I notice quite a few details about myself these days.

Strawberries ripening, baby robins in our front yard...

June 6, 2011


Good day/Bad day(s)?: pretty good

Took a little break there. Thanks for checking back. It feels weird to write about my days now, because all in all they're not so out-of-the-ordinary. Which is fine, isn't it? You don't need to hear about my day at work or grocery shopping, etc... It's more about where I'm at overall.

Not bad. What's still lingering? Here's the updated laundry list. My R arm still is having swelling, especially after another day popping out weeds yesterday--very noticeable puffing! My chest is still tight, makes me want to hunch and curl forward automatically. Then my R shoulder pulls forward and the shoulder blade doesn't move right, so I have to keep mindful of that. If I have a day of more Olive holding, it's much worse.

Fatigue? Yep. I don't hit the wall suddenly and irreversibly like I did during chemo & radiation, but it creeps up on me. Ben & I went to a wedding outside on the beastly humid 90s day here last week, were out in it for 5-6 hours, and the next day I was totally spent. Felt like I sweated out everything I had (though it was a fun night!), had to take a couple of naps. It might be a rough summer. But I guess Olive won't be able to be out long with the cast, so we can hang out in the a/c together.

Brain? Ugh. No initiative, no ability to follow through. I can have moments of clear, useful thoughts and clarity, but then I just get distracted for quite a while. (Squirrel!) I've got a lot of stuff half-completed at home and don't know when I'll get to the other half.

Enough about me. For the more fascinating stuff, Olive's had a language explosion! She wants to repeat everything, is putting together phrases on her own, super observant (picking out little details in books, hearing every airplane that flies overhead...). She's been a lot of fun lately, if not also testing out her sass limits a little. Favorite words these days? Well, the "thank you, mama" gets me every time. Also " I see you", had her saying "cool rock" ("coo gock"). Plenty more where that came from. It just keeps getting more interesting!