September 26, 2011

Sea Legs

This is yesterday, and Olive was still holding on pretty tightly, though she was a master of pushing her stroller all around the neighborhood.

Today, she let go!  Taking steps with "no hands" with a lot of encouragement.  And then she did a lot of dancing with Sesame Street.  I like this progress...

(But now she's getting a cold.  Here it comes for the rest of us.)

September 22, 2011

Big Girl

So I forgot to tell you how TALL Olive is without the cast now.  It's weird how big she suddenly got! 

She is trucking along, still slowly getting her legs back, crawling, cruising along furniture, and using push toys to walk, still not doing it without hanging on.  She gets really worn out by the end of the day--not just meltdown city, but her legs get tired and wobbly.  They have her wearing a brace for bedtime that puts her in a similar position as the cast, will have that at least until her follow-up in 6 weeks.  She didn't last long the first night but slept through the night last night.

But she is a huge fan of baths now.  AND, she pooped on her potty today!  Yay!!!!!  We've been talking it up while she was in the cast as one of the big girl things she can do with the cast off, and she actually sat on it a few times with the cast on... 

The rest of us?  Well, it's been another series of adjustments, new morning and bedtime routines, etc.  At least I don't have to wake up for a diaper change at 3am anymore.  We're still getting our bearings.  I'm still off schedule and beat from the weekend travel and lack of sleep, and my arm swelling got a little worse with the air travel (it does that...).  Oh, if I didn't make it clear, my shingles cleared up very quickly--if I hadn't gone in to the MD that day, there might not have been enough to see the next day.  That's a very good thing (that it was small and short-lived).

I've had a lot of thoughts swimming in my head lately about being a longer term survivor, the life-long impact of the cancer and treatment, and also where I'm at in life in general.  A lot of thoughts, but too tired to get them out and coherent yet.  As I start to think about this year+, this blog, I think it may be time to wrap it up soon.  Or go monthly or something.  But I do want to pull some of these thoughts together to bookend this chapter first...

September 20, 2011

Independence Day

That face kinda says it all...

Olive was a super-trooper today, didn't freak out much with the cast saw.  (It helped that they gave her a new Pillow Pet, too!)  She had a little while of just looking a little unsure, looking at her legs and not knowing what to do with them.  She wants to move, but she's not going to overdo it.  Did a little supported walking and cruising along furniture and went up the steps of the slide, but is otherwise crawling most of the time.  She's a little noodley overall, forgot how to support herself sitting in a chair, etc.  It's very weird to pick her up--she feels like she's going to slide right out of my arms without all that heft (and the built-in handle)! 

I have never seen a kid SO excited about a bath.  We had a lot of time playing with bubbles and splashing tonight.  It's good, because we need to get some of the gross off of her.  It'll take a little while to get back to happy skin!

Okay, we're tired now...  Good night!

September 18, 2011

There and back again...

To Pittsburgh and back, safe and sound.  (My bag made it back only shortly thereafter...)

I had a good weekend.  Not as much time to explore as fully as I hoped, but a lot of enjoyable things.  Treated myself to a nice dinner Thurs night when I got there, explored a little Friday morning, then conference Fri afternoon and Sat all day.  Lots of walking all around.  Then another nice dinner Sat night before a nice early morning to get back this morning (4:30 wake up, oh and that's 3:30 our time!)

The conference itself wound up being an interesting mix of topics that applied to me personally and professionally.  The focus was palliative & hospice care in cancer patients, so a lot was directly related to what I work with regularly.  Then there were the pieces that were about cancer survivorship and how little is known about the long-term and late effects of cancer treatment and how much it impacts the lives of survivors.  It gives me a lot to think about, along with reading more about "chemo brain" as a real phenomenon that can profoundly affect chemo patients.  I don't have significant impact from it, but I certainly am not as cognitively sharp as I'd like to think I was.  So anyway.

It was interesting to travel and contrast it to my getaway to Milwaukee last winter.  Being bald really has an impact--strangers just approach you and welcome you in.  This trip, there were a few people at the conference that could recognize what my appearance meant (compression sleeve, L arm scar from port, flat chest, short hair) and did approach me, but minimally.  Just interesting.

Ben and Olive held down the fort while I was gone and Ben was even in pretty good spirits (but ready for a break)!  And Olive is now in the bedtime-without-pacifier routine like a champion.  Now to get ready for the un-casting... (Tuesday...)  Oh boy.

September 14, 2011

Drama Queen

I'm worried I'm going to be accused of being a drama queen.  In fact, it may have already happened a few times by those that shall remain unnamed ;)... So what is it now, Jenny?  Well, in addition to the side effects I described for Saturday, my shingles medication has provoked an allergic reaction.  I have a delightfully itchy rash all around my right thumb and wrist, and then my left hand started in.  Just in time for travel!

I'm taking a little time-out to go to a conference in Pittsburgh.  I leave tomorrow and come back Sunday morning.  Excited!  Luck to Ben in continuing to work on the bedtime routine with Miss Chief.

Speaking of, last night was progress!  Only 17 minutes of crying until she was out (not that we're counting...), and no wake-ups.  Pretty good in my book.  AND, only 6 more days until the cast is off!  Beware what you wish for, though.  If Ben would get on it, he has an awesome video of her pulling herself up to stand and walking along the bed in her cast (and chatting, lots of chatting)...

September 11, 2011

The Long Goodnight

I'm pretty pooped after this weekend.  Yesterday was a bust: felt dizzy and weird most of the day, side effects from the shingles med--was a lot like chemo days.  Today was just busy, busy, esp trying to entertain our little angel. 

So it's 10:30 and she's still awake.  We decided 2 nights ago to get rid of all her pacifiers, go cold turkey.  Some mysterious stranger came into the house and cut the ends off all of them so they didn't work, and then Olive threw them in the garbage.  First night, not so bad.  Last night, a little worse, finally settled in at about 10pm.  And tonight she's going strong!  Had her almost there a couple of times, but she also had a rough/pokey spot on her cast that she wasn't talking about, just continuing to change position and move all her pillows around.  Fixed that with lots of tape, but that's not helping the wound-up one.  There's no way this is going to end well...

September 7, 2011

Bump in the road

Good news/Bad news?  Good news is I don't have a local recurrence of cancer.  Bad news is I have shingles!

So yes, I'm informing you after I started to suspect something was not cool, but only by a day.  There was this weird, itchiness on my chest (R side where the radiation had been) that started yesterday and turned into a blister.  Wasn't acting like a bug bite or anything, though it was pretty small (~1cm).  Anytime there's something weird with my skin in that area, my mind jumps to conclusions--it's only happened one other time that I had a tiny lump near my scar, but it must have been more scar tissue changes and went away.  So that's a fun thing to be paranoid about for the rest of my life.  I'm in the I-know-just-enough-to-make-me-crazy stage with my nursing background, but I hadn't gone to the shingles page yet.

For those of you who don't know, shingles are the exact same virus as chicken pox, so people that have had it can have the same virus pop up as shingles years later.  It can come out of nowhere, but tend to show up more when someone's immunity is lower (i.e. after chemo).  I caught mine early, literally a day after it started, so i start antiviral meds today and it should clear up within a week.  If you don't start the med early you can have lifelong nerve pain at the site, so fast action is good.  (By the by, kudos to my radiation oncologist & nurse for hearing my description and sneaking me in this afternoon!)  It can always come back, but whatever.  One possible not fun thing to worry about for the week--Ben never had chicken pox as a kid and could catch it now, and it's always more nasty as an adult...

Don't mind me, I'll just crawl back in my bubble.

September 4, 2011


Ahhhh, lazy Sunday!  After lazy Saturday!

Olive is hangin' out in Milwaukee for the weekend--we'll pick her up tomorrow.  Sure is quiet around here.  I'm wondering what phrases she's going to come home with, because lately it's all sentences--"Sometimes we have tea." "No, Mama, go out of the room." etc. etc.  Oh, and before she left, while she was crawling around on the kitchen floor, she crawled over to me and pulled herself to standing using my legs.  She seems to be a little motivated.

So far for free weekend, had Friday night alone and took myself to a movie.  Yesterday was sleeping in, a couple of farmer's markets, and shopping where I splurged on a few things (slow process of revamping my wardrobe to accommodate not having boobs).  Ben returned from a motorcycle journey to IA, tired and wet and stinky.  After naps, we went to the Tornado for their awesome late-night menu, sat and had cocktails and deliciousness and got to feel sophisticated for a few hours.  I had some grand ideas of being outside and walking a bunch, but then it rained all day.  Today I'm hoping for more get-up-and-go.  BUT, I also didn't stack the cards against me in thinking I had to get certain things done, so I'm not "behind" on my relaxing weekend...   Sometimes I can still get smarter :).