Welcome to my world

I am a wife, a mom, a daughter, a sister and a friend.
I've learned that who you have in your life matters more than what you have.
Thank you for stepping in to my world!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 490

Good riddance to 2014!  I thought nothing could be worse than 2013, the year I was diagnosed with cancer. Enter 2014 - the year I had three surgeries, six weeks of radiation, and a month-long respiratory illness to finish out the year. Not only that, but my dad had a heart attack and stroke and my mom had surgery and began treatment for colon cancer.

I thank God every day that I'm still here, and that Hubby and the kids are healthy too. Life could be so much worse... but really, I'm hoping it can be so much better!  

Here's to a happier, healthier 2015!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 489

We have a winter storm warning, it is 23 degrees and it feels like 8.

Finally it feels like winter!!!

There's nothing better for a lady who has been through chemo and is in surgical menopause.  Stepping outside when it's freezing is the best remedy for hot flashes!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 488

My KCA group has been having a discussion today on Facebook about what separates "normal" people from cancer survivors.  Once you've had cancer, anytime you have a new symptom, your mind will return to cancer.  A sore throat?  A cough that won't go away?  Hip pain?  A bad headache?  Nausea?  No matter what it is, it's extremely difficult to not let your mind go there.  You can't help but wonder if anything unexplained is a symptom of cancer.

Cancer survivors will always worry about the cancer coming back.

I've actually been trying not to let those worries take over the last few weeks.  I was sick at the beginning of December and a round of antibiotics didn't get rid of this crud.  I've been coughing and blowing my nose for almost a month.  I don't have a fever anymore, and other than some dizziness (that I'm blaming on cough medicine), the only symptoms I have left are this horrible cough from the congestion in my throat and a pain in my side/back from coughing.

What do we do?  How do we handle being sick without thinking we are really sick?  I know my white and red blood cell counts are low, so it stands to reason that my body is having a hard time getting well due to my compromised immune system.  Tell that to my paranoid brain.  I went to the doctor last week and they didn't see anything concerning on the chest x-ray.  Tell that to my paranoid brain.  I can't help but worry that this cough is the result of something else, something much worse than this sinus crud.

One of our KCA friends recently started chemo for the second time.  She was having a lot of pain and found out she had a build-up of fluid in her chest, and the fluid was positive for cancer cells.  BLAH.  I hate that she is having to go through this, not even one year after finishing chemo the first time.  I hate that something she was worried about turned into something she needed to be worried about.  It's things like this that make me even more afraid.

Who wants to live in fear?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 487

This is what my family is saying after almost a month of me being down for the count:

I'm still stuffy.  I'm still coughing.  I can't find my energy.  But I'm not as stuffy.  I'm not coughing as much, and when I do it doesn't feel like I'm being stabbed in the side.  

I don't want to jinx myself, but maybe, just maybe, I can get over this crud.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 486

Hubby and I took the kids to see Night at the Museum this afternoon.  After a ham dinner on Christmas, a sandwich snack fest yesterday with the fam and too much popcorn and chocolate today, this is so appropriate:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 485

Now that the Christmas crazies are over... well, almost - I do have fifteen people coming over this afternoon for another family celebration - here are a few random musings:

  • On Christmas Eve we went to the cemetery to visit Granny (Hubby's mom) for her birthday and Christmas.  On the way home, out of the blue, K says, "Hey!  I didn't know I could cross my eyes with my eyes closed!"  Out of the mouths of babes, I'm telling you.
  • Tuesday night I had a bad dream.  I don't usually remember my dreams, and I don't often have bad ones.  In my dream I found out I had to go through chemo again.  Every cancer patient's nightmare - hearing that the cancer has come back.  I was devastated and my first thought, of course, was that I really, really didn't want to lose my hair again.  I try not to let cancer rule my life any more than it has to, but I guess even in my subconscious the fear is never far away.
  • I wear the same size mens pajamas as my son.
  • I could buy my family a hundred Christmas presents and it never fails - there's always one more I wish I had bought.  K bought her BFF a really cute toy (annoying, but very cute), and she really loved it and wanted it for herself, too.  If she wasn't with me and I hadn't already gotten her so many things, I would have bought it.  Sigh.  I admit I have a problem.
  • I am the queen of mommy guilt, so it's no surprise that I feel guilty for not getting the one major gift my kids ask for.  Granted, J asked for something that costs $400 and K decided the day before Christmas Eve (when my shopping was done) what she really wanted (Barbie Dream House).  Uh.... not happening on either count.
  • We had McDonald's for Christmas Eve.
  • The cashier at one of the stores in the mall told us that her BFF's name was Kelsie.  That is the first time we've heard of someone spelling it the same way!
  • The cold/flu/respiratory infection from hell is back.  I am coughing and blowing my nose and so sick of feeling like this.  A round of antibiotics, six days of steroids and countless doses of cough medicine and I'm still hacking away.  That's just great for the pain in my side (a.k.a. pleurisy).
  • From my lips to God's ears (or at least the pastor's ears)... last year my one complaint about the Christmas Eve candlelight service was that we only sang one Christmas song.  This year we sang all Christmas songs except one (and that one is one that I like, so it's ok).  We sang Joy To The World, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Oh Come All Ye Faithful, Angels We Have Heard on High and Silent Night.  That's what I'm talking about!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 483

This is a copy of the Christmas letter I sent out this year.  Maybe not an exact copy, because I can write as much as I want on here instead of trying to cram it on one sheet of paper to mail!

Anyway, as the Norwegians say, Merry Little Christmas (or if you're American, Merry Christmas Eve)!

Christmas greetings from the Burlesons.

It’s a typical Sunday evening (actually now it's Wednesday) in our house. Jared is in his room probably watching Netflix or playing Minecraft (when he should be doing homework!). (Ok, ok, it's Christmas break and he probably doesn't have homework.) If he can’t do it on a screen, he’s not interested unless it comes with LEGOs or a train (or both). Kelsie is wandering around begging someone to play a board game, and Mom and Dad are refusing because, hey, the Cowboys are on (they won!)!

What’s new in our lives? A whole lot of the same old, same old. Boyd is as busy as ever at work, which is stressful for him but good for Michelle’s bank account! He “retired” from coaching (softball & football), so he’s enjoying  being their number one fan at the kids’ games.  (What I should have put in my letter is that Boyd continues to me the best support system Michelle could ask for.  He's an amazing partner, friend, husband, nurse, father, errand-runner, etc.  I'd be completely lost without him.)

Michelle completed radiation treatment (six and a half weeks of daily treatments!!) and several surgeries this year and she is finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel with this pesky cancer business. (She has a few less body parts, more scars and a lot more side effects, but she's HERE!) She enjoyed a long weekend in Las Vegas this fall with women she met online who all underwent chemo at the same time.  (We call ourselves the KCA crew - Kicking Cancer's Ass!) She is busy doing the “mom” thing, as well as working part-time for her hubby. You can keep up with her/us online at: http://www.michellesneighborhood.blogspot.com  (Obviously you know this if you're reading my blog today.)
Jared played 7th grade football as well as trombone in the junior high band this year. (He is second chair in band, and first chair is an 8th grader!)  At 13, he is the youngest member of the local model railroad club. The newspaper even did an article on him! Kelsie still plays softball for the Lady Diamonds, and is trying basketball for the first time. Both kids continue to do very well in school, but it takes an act of congress for them to clean their rooms or hang up their towels! (What's up with kids and their priorities?  They'd rather play or something.  Sheesh)
Please include Michelle’s parents in your prayers. Her mom Gail started chemo for colon cancer this month, and her dad Herb is recovering from a heart attack and stroke. Herb is making amazing progress (he went home earlier this month after more than a month in the hospital and three months in a rehab facility!) and Gail is taking chemo in stride (with some tips from yours truly!), but they both have a long road ahead of them.  (I just have to say, this family is getting a little tired of these "long roads" ahead of us!  I want some smooth sailing!)

2015 will be another busy one, with more
(minor) surgery for Michelle, more work for Boyd, normal kid stuff and even a wedding! Justin and Meagan are getting married in the fall! 
Our family has had its share of ups & downs, but as always we fill our home with love, laughter & faith.
 (And chocolate)
Merry Christmas from Boyd, Michelle, Jared & Kelsie!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 482

I thought my family had pretty much run the gamut of medical terms this year, but I get to add a new one to my vocabulary:  pleurisy.  Do you know what it is?  I didn't...until a sharp, stabbing pain along my side sent me to the doctor.  Pleurisy is inflammation of the lining of the lungs and chest that leads to chest pain (usually sharp) when you take a breath or cough. Or breathe deep.  Or just sit.

Apparently spending the last three weeks coughing my fool head off has led to some irritation in the lining of my lungs.  Nothing much to do for it other than take something for the pain and a prescription for steroids.  I've been taking Ibuprofen 800, but even that only takes the edge off.  Anytime I laugh or cough or sneeze, I feel like someone is stabbing me along my ribs.

Seems like the fun never ends around here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 481

This whole Elf on the Shelf thing?  Not sure I'm a fan.  Our elf is tired.  And she's kind of a boring elf... if you look around online, you'll see all sorts of creative elves.  Heart is cute, and she loves us, but she's not all wild and crazy.  She's not toilet-papering our tree (although she did that last year).  She's not pooping out chocolate chips or taking a marshmallow bath or fishing in the toilet.

Yesterday morning we woke up to find her reading Twas the Night Before Christmas to K's squinkies.  This morning we found her here:

The main reason I'm not a fan, though, is that keeping Heart is on K's Christmas list.  In fact, she tells Santa that it's what she wants more than anything else.  And this girl has some serious ideas when it comes to asking for gifts:  touch screen computer, Barbies, an iPhone, a puppy and/or a kitten.  Heart must rate pretty darn high to be what she wants most.

I wonder how Santa will handle this particular request.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 479

Last night Hubby and I had a date.  And I'm not just talking dinner-and-a-movie date.... we went away.  Overnight.  No kids.  No work.  Just the two of us.  And we didn't have to get up early to drive to Dallas for a doctor appointment the next day!  Talk about an early Christmas present!

We went to a casino where we stayed up way too late (WAY too late!) and spent way too much money.  Sometimes I wish I didn't love to gamble so much.  But it's one of those things that you either love or hate, and Hubby and I both love it.  For the two of us, though, it's like golf.  When he's not doing well, Hubby does not enjoy either one.  I have fun whether I'm winning or not (of course winning is more fun - both in gambling and golf!).

Our kids stayed with friends, and I'm so blessed to have this family in my life.  Not only because they have kids my kids' ages and they all have fun, but because I know they are going to be in good hands.  I never worry when they are with them, and more often than not, we have to drag them away.  I'm thankful for K & D opening their home for the night to my kiddos, and I'm thankful for my kiddos being on their best behavior.

Despite what happened at the casino - lucky, lucky me.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 478

There's a holiday tradition that is going by the wayside and it makes me sad - Christmas cards.  I know in this day and age of modern technology, keeping in touch is as easy as ever.  People keep up with each other with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, texting, etc.  So I suppose the need to reach out to your loved ones with a Christmas card is practically null and void these days.  

But who doesn't like getting something like this in the mail??

Christmas cards are beautiful.  (Hint - if you send me a really pretty one it will hang in my house year after year)  It's always fun to get mail.  If you're like me, most of the mail you normally get is bills and junk.  Christmas is the one time of year that there's actually more good mail!  Christmas cards are like a little nudge - "hey, I'm thinking of you".  

There is less than a week until Christmas and we've only received a fraction of the cards we usually do.  I get it.  People are busy.  Postage is expensive.  Writing out cards is time-consuming.  Plus, as I said, we keep up with everyone all year long, so what's the point?

The point is, I like getting Christmas cards.  Don't give up!  Most people may not appreciate them, but I absolutely do.

P.S. - Five more shopping days until Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 477

Today I had an appointment to return to the chemo infusion room.  I was not happy about that.  Just being in the waiting room is depressing enough with all of the patients with masks on and walkers and wheel chairs.  The people back in the chemo room are all snoring or coughing, shuffling around with their IV poles or sleeping, and they all look SICK.   (My mother is 66 years old and even she said she feels like a kid in the chemo room!)  Even when I was going through chemo I never felt like I belonged there, and now that I'm a year out from chemo, I sure ask heck don't belong there!

Tell that to my body, though.  At my appointment with Dr. H last week (3 month check up), my blood work was not very cooperative.  My white blood cells have stayed relatively steady (low, but steady) since I finished chemo.  My red blood cells and hemoglobin were low during chemo, but had slowly started to come back up.  Before my reconstruction surgery in November, my hemoglobin was 12, which is the "normal" number for a woman my age.  The day after surgery it was 8.1, which is where it is now - still - five weeks after surgery.

Dr H is concerned that I have unexplained bleeding from somewhere, or a bone marrow disorder that's preventing my body from replenishing the blood cells it needs.  In my opinion, obviously the surgery can be blamed for the big drop in hemoglobin.  I was under anesthesia for almost nine hours and I had four different surgical sites... I'm sure I lost quite a bit of blood.  What we can't figure out is why my counts aren't coming back up, even a little bit.  I've been sick for the last two weeks with respiratory crap, so I'm sure that's not helping.

The easiest (and least scary) explanation would be an iron deficiency - hence the trip to the chemo room.  Dr H ordered an IV iron infusion in hopes of jump-starting my blood cell manufacturing.  I waited almost an hour, and then the infusion took a little over an hour.  Since I had my port removed during my last surgery, they had to give me an IV this time.  She put it in at the side of my wrist (ouch) which was uncomfortable, and the IV itself burned.  I could feel it going up through my arm the entire time.  Have you ever seen an iron IV?  It looks like motor oil.  Lovely.

I've certainly been through worse things, and since I haven't been able to bounce back completely on my own, maybe it will help get my system going.  I'm just sick of being sick.  Being severely anemic is no fun.  I'm SO exhausted.  Just doing the dishes takes my breath away (and not in a good way!).   I don't want blood draws or check-ups.  I don't want surgery or infusions.  I know it's nothing compared to what I have gone through already, but I'm tired of it all, and I just want to be ME.
(And not the new, grouchy, biting everyone's head off and complaining all the time me that has taken over my body.  I want to be sweet, caring, thoughtful, patient me.)

One more thing - speaking of the infusion room.... while I wasn't thrilled with having to go back there, an iron infusion was a pretty minor thing to be there for.  The whole time I kept thinking of my friend Lyn.  She's one of my KCA crew and she's undergoing chemotherapy for the second time in two years because they found cancer in the fluid around her lungs.  Please pray for her.  She's a spunky antique store owner biker chick who needs help kicking cancer's ass a second time.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 473

One of the things my friend Allyson told me when I was diagnosed (and crying and complaining to her - HER of all people), was that if going through everything she did allowed her to help even one person, then it was worth it.

Of course that's just Allyson, but I totally get it now.

My mom had her first chemo last week and the yuck factor has kicked in.  She's not sick, just feeling yucky and not wanting to eat.  Luckily her OCD daughter has kept notes from every single day since the start of chemo last year - what I felt like, what meds I took, what foods I could eat.  I just sent her a list of some of the foods I ate most often.  I hope it helps her.  I had some extra padding to spare.  Mom doesn't!  She needs to eat, eat, eat.

On a side note, I think my antibiotics finally kicked in.  I still don't feel great - I'm coughing a ton and out of breath at the slightest effort - but I don't feel "sick".  Hallalujah!

Go Cowboys!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 471

Life is all about contrast, isn't it?
Light and dark, good and bad, positive and negative.

I had a lousy afternoon yesterday.  I mean really lousy.  I was fighting tears before the kids even went to bed.  The unknown is a scary thing, and trying to talk yourself down from the ledge when your mind is firmly rooted there....not an easy thing.

And then, after wiping my eyes and blowing my nose for the hundredth time (ok, maybe a slight exaggeration), I looked down from my perch on the couch and saw this sweetie setting up her Little People nativity set under the Christmas tree, with her trusty reindeer by her side.
To top it off, she was singing "Deck the Halls."

Well played, God, well played.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 470

I'm sitting on the couch curled up under my new heated throw blanket, all of the lights are off except the Christmas lights, I'm drinking a cup of tea, the house is quiet, and this is my view:

Let me tell you, this is heaven after being sick all week.  I'm still coughing my fool head off, my throat hurts and I'm fighting off a headache, but I haven't had a fever since Tuesday, so maybe I've started to turn the corner a little bit.  Not in any part thanks to me.  I guess I don't do "resting" well.  (Thanks Mom)  Yesterday I was supposed to stay on the couch all day, except for J's band concert (which was fantastic!).  Ummm....I washed clothes, wrapped all of the gifts I have so far, cooked dinner and then we decorated the tree.  Not much couch-sitting going on there.

Today I have an appointment with Dr. H.  You know what that means.  Waiting, waiting and more waiting.  And tonight is K's first basketball game, which she's informed me she's NOT ready to play.  This is her first year playing and she's feeling a little lost.  She said she doesn't want to go out there in a game because she doesn't know what to do.  I tried to give her a pep talk, that she's not the only one who hasn't played before and that she didn't know a thing about softball when she started and look at her now!  I don't think it sunk in.  Tonight should be interesting.

On another note, four years ago today Hubby's dad lost his wife unexpectedly.  She was only in her 50s. It was only a few months prior to that when Hubby's mom lost her battle with cancer.  In the span of four months my kids lost two grandmothers.  Please say a little prayer for my father-in-law, his step-daughter and her children.  No matter how much time passes, I know this is still a tough day.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 469

Ok, I admit it, I'm miserable.  I'm waving the white flag.

I look miserable, I feel miserable and I'm acting miserable.
I would like to formally apologize to my family, because I am taking all of my stress and miserable-ness out on them.  They don't deserve it.  These are the people who love me despite my being grouchy and bitchy and nagging them about everything.  I want to shower them with love and all of the Christmas spirit I can muster.

Unfortunately, recovering from this surgery has been a long road, I still don't have my energy back, and now I'm sicker than sick.  Coughing-aching-stuffy-head-fever-so-you-can-rest medicine isn't touching this crud.  Also unfortunate is the fact that Hubby is sick, too...so not much sympathy from his direction.

I've managed to work ten hours (first time back to work in over a month), go to Office Depot, make two trips to the post office, go grocery shopping, take K to basketball practice, take J to train club, wash three loads of laundry and do some online Christmas shopping in the past two days.  Today the only thing on my agenda is J's Christmas band concert.  Hopefully I don't cough my way through it.

On a side note, my mom made it through her first chemotherapy treatment yesterday without incident.  She texted me and said, "I am eating walnuts, drinking pure leaf tea and getting chemo.  The bizarreness of it all just hit me."  That's pretty much chemo in a nutshell.
No pun intended.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 467

Today I am back at work for the first time since before my surgery.  That's forty days of not working.   
It sure as heck wasn't a vacation, and it's not easy getting back into the swing of things.  Of course I pick a Monday to come back to work.  Add to that a Monday when I have a bad cold.  
What was I thinking?

Good thing I love my boss.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 466

Will someone please explain to me how I managed to pull off Christmas last year?  I know it was kind of a blur, and maybe I don't remember thanks to chemo brain, but really, after eight rounds of chemotherapy (I finished Dec 5), how on earth did I do Christmas cards, all the decorating, shopping, wrapping, baking, etc?  

I am a month out of surgery and this is what I have so far for this Christmas (seven days into December):

I do have quite a bit of my shopping done (thank you, Amazon), but still.  I am down with a bad cold right now, so that is zapping what little energy I have anyway.  I had planned to spend today decorating our tree.  We managed to get it inside the house.  

I keep waiting for the day when I don't feel like everything requires monumental effort.

As I keep saying...baby steps.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 465

Insomnia and restless legs... my two devoted companions lately.

I can think of better people to hang out with, thank you very much... starting with my very own Hubby happily snoozing away in the bed I recently returned to after sleeping in the recliner for a month.  Is that my problem?  I'm used to sleeping in Hubby's chair since surgery and not my comfy, warm, memory foam-covered bed?  I've stopped taking all of my nighttime pills (all supplements, nothing necessary) in hopes of figuring out these restless legs.  I even followed Facebook's advice and bought some tonic water.  That stuff is pretty gross.  And it didn't work.  Maybe I didn't drink enough of it, but I'd rather chug Nyquil.  My friend K suggested I add some gin.  She may be on to something.  Maybe that's why it didn't work...maybe it's the gin and not so much the tonic!

So...It's 1:24am.  I've been back to bed twice, once after getting a cough drop and once after riding my bike for ten minutes (isn't that everyone's favorite middle of the night activity?) because I couldn't lay still.  Maybe I'm on Australian time or something.  Isn't it daytime there?

I have to be up in six hours for a softball tournament, followed by a Christmas party tomorrow night.  At this rate I'm going to be comatose by lunchtime.  I knew I should have "accidentally" taken those leg compression things from the hospital.  I was pretty much stuck in that hospital bed for five straight days and never once did I have restless legs.  Ever since I've been home, I have had them every single night, and sometimes during the day, and nothing, not even my prescription meds, gets rid of them.

Cancer, you suck.

On a positive, amazing, glorious note, my dad came home from rehab today.
Did you hear me?
Or I guess I should say yesterday, considering what time it is.  After over a month in two different hospitals and almost three months at the rehab, he is back in his own home.  He called me from his recliner and had his beloved cat Sammy on his lap.

My mom commented on my Facebook post and said if you don't believe in miracles, go talk to Herb.  Seriously.  I got a call on August 4th and the doctor told me it was a "precarious situation and I might want to make plans".  It was touch and go for about a week.  I didn't know if I was packing for a visit or a funeral.  My dad had heart damage from a heart attack and a major stroke.   He had eight different brain bleeds.  He couldn't move his right leg, could barely move his right hand and couldn't talk.  They couldn't get his blood pressure under control.  He fell out of bed more than once.  He refused to cooperate with his therapists.

If you had told me my dad would be walking, talking and even climbing the stairs to his living room before Christmas I would have laughed.  Miracles do happen.  And like I told him two months ago when I visited, he is a fighter.  Thank God.

This picture is from the summer of 2013, right before my d-day.  Golf has always been my and my dad's favorite thing to do together.  After everything I've been through since last August, and everything he's been through since this past August, having another picture like this seems like a pipe dream.  Both of our bodies (and minds) have been through their own kinds of hell, but we are coming out on the other side, victorious.  

Dad, if you're reading this, I'll do my part to get there if you'll do yours.  It may not be pretty. We'll both move slower and shank more balls than we want to and even J will probably beat us, but I would love to get back on the course with you some day.  The Lazy Swan is calling our names.  Or maybe it's Green Acres.  Wherever, whenever - let's get there, ok?

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 464

Last year on this day I was at the cancer center receiving my last chemotherapy treatment.  I am exhausted from the past 464 days of fighting, my body aches in places it never used to, I take more pills each day than I used to take in a month and I have some serious battle scars.

I am happy, I love and am loved, and I'm still kicking cancer's ass. 

I am totally blessed.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 463

Today is a "pray for Mom" day. I pray for her every day, but I'm asking you to join me. She has surgery today to have her port put in so she can start chemo next week. It's a crappy way to start the holidays, but in true Mom fashion, she is taking it all in stride. I pray that her procedure goes well and she doesn't have a lot of pain (I had the worst stiff neck after my port surgery!). Let's get this show on the road so she can be done with this cancer crap.

Here's Mom the other day getting her tree:

Keep that Christmas spirit alive and remember Mom - faith, hope and love are the greatest gifts.  
Let all three fill your heart. I love you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 462

You hear me cancer????  I would never in a million years "run back to you", so I expect you to follow my example and leave me alone for the next fifty years (and you can take my restless legs with you)!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 459

I love Christmas.

I love the chill in the air, I love snowy weather, I love Christmas music, decorations and Christmas lights.  I love trying to find that one perfect gift for each person I love.  I love my Christmas dishes, and even though I think it's a tradition going by the wayside, I love getting Christmas cards in the mail.

I'm a little down about Christmas right now, though.  I keep seeing my friends' pictures on Facebook of their pretty trees and houses all decked out and I'm just so overwhelmed with the idea of getting  ready for Christmas.  I have no clue how I did it last year, having just finished chemo.  I am almost four weeks post-op and I still have zero energy.  I don't know if this is normal or not.  I know I had major surgery and it will take a long time for my body to heal.  But is it ok to still get so worn out so easily?  I don't know.  What I do know is that I have no decorations out, only a few Christmas presents bought and no cards written out.

Part of the problem is my schedule is all messed up.  Normally I decorate my house the day after Thanksgiving, since I don't do any Black Friday shopping.  This year that day was J's birthday and we went to Dallas, not getting home until late yesterday.  While it was really a great family time, our road trip really wore me out and I didn't have the motivation to do any decorating today.

Tomorrow I have to go back to Dallas for an appointment with Dr T.  If I'm not too worn out, maybe I can start getting my house all Christmas-y on Tuesday.  I'd like to get our tree soon, too, but J is very sick with a fever, cough, and fatigue, so no telling when either one of us will be up for Christmas tree shopping.

I think tomorrow morning I will at least put my wreath on the door.  As I keep saying.... baby steps.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 458

It's been a long 36 hours, but I enjoyed every minute spending time with my family.

We headed out on a road trip to the Metroplex (for you non-Texans, that's Dallas-Fort Worth) yesterday:

Our first stop was a birthday dinner at J's restaurant of choice - Boomer Jack's.  It's a little over-stimulating in there because it's a sports bar & grill and they have over 120 tvs, all with something different showing.  You can watch golf, poker, basketball, sports news, soccer and two different football games all from one spot.  The food is fantastic, though, and it made J happy.

We spent the evening cheering on our Wylie Bulldogs in their playoff berth against the Graham Steers. 

The Steers came to play.  The Bulldogs did not.  I bet it was a long, unhappy drive back to Abilene for the players and fans.  Fortunately we had surprise birthday plans for J the next day, so we only had a thirty minute drive to our hotel (where we were upgraded to a suite - sweet!).

The surprise for J was a trip to Northpark Center.  There is a toy train exhibit there (all proceeds benefit the Ronald McDonald House).  I don't think he was quite as excited about it as I had hoped he'd be, but we all enjoyed it.  

Northpark Center is a very swanky mall and my Highlander looked way out of place parked amidst the cars sporting the Lexus, Mercedes, Acura and BMW badges!  However, the trip redeemed itself for both kiddos with a stop at the LEGO store for J and a visit to Build a Bear for K.  Meet Dancer:

Sleeping in a hotel bed after three weeks in the recliner was a difficult task made even harder by unrelenting restless legs.  While my family slept away in the other room (thank goodness for the suite), I walked laps and did squats in the living room and tried three different meds before I was able to go to bed for good.  I'm getting tired of seeing 1am simply because I can't keep my legs still.

I'm happy to be back in my own house and in Hubby's recliner (although I think he's more than ready to reclaim it!).  Unfortunately we are going to head back to Big D on Monday to see Dr. T.  The only reason I'm not completely dreading doing this road trip twice in three days is the lingering hope that I will finally get rid of these last two drains.  It has been twenty-four days of being attached to these stupid things 24/7.  I am more than ready to say good riddance!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 457

I am the mother of a teenager.

I'm not quite sure how that happened.  One minute he was sleeping in the crook of my arm and the next he's eating me out of house and home and wearing bigger shoes than me.  I am so proud of the young man my son is becoming.  He is smart and funny, inquisitive and creative, clever and silly.  He has a sweet smile, sparkly eyes and the longest eyelashes I've ever seen.  He's compassionate and kind and I'll always be his biggest fan.  

Happy Birthday J.  I'm honored to be your mom.

I love you to the moon and back.  oxxoxoxoxooxoxoxo

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Kicking cancer's ass - day 456

Sorry.... couldn't help a little Thanksgiving humor.

Things I am thankful for:

  • My Hubby.  He is hands down the best support system I could ever have asked for.  I can't imagine walking through life with anyone else.  It's his hand I want to hold, his arms I want around me, his heart I want beating next to mine.
  • My son.  J and K truly are the joys of my life.  Tomorrow J will officially become a teenager. I'm not sure how that happened, because just yesterday it seems I was complaining about potty training woes and rocking him to sleep.  
  • My daughter.  K constantly makes me smile.  She is quirky and funny and loving and grouchy.  She loves to dress up and wear sparkly jewelry, and yet she doesn't mind getting dirty on the softball field or on the back of a horse.
  • My mom.  Thanksgiving wasn't quite the same this year without her here.  I know she's where she needs to be, and she has her own things to take care of, but I want her to know that she's missed more than ever.  If she's not here, who is going to make me turkey soup?
  • My dad.  I received a call today from my dad wanting to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and see how I'm doing.  I continue to be astounded day after day with his progress.  When I visited him two months ago, I showed him my shirt that said "I'm a fighter", and I told him that's what HE needed to be.  He's taken those words to heart and has gotten so much stronger.  He is almost always in a good mood, his memory is getting better, his body is getting stronger and every day he is one step closer to going home.  That makes my heart happy.
  • My brother.  We don't often talk and are lucky to see each other once a year, but he's my big brother and I'm so glad we have the friendship that we do.  He called earlier when I was busy having Thanksgiving dinner, and it warms my heart to listen to his message.  If you've never gotten a voice mail from my brother, you are missing out.  You know that beep that cuts you off after so long when you're leaving a message?  I think that was invented for him.
  • My softball family.  The little girls who call themselves the Lady Diamonds have stolen my heart.  Every time I hear "Hi Miss Michelle", it puts a smile on my face.  Their families are like my family, and I thank God for the support they've given me since d-day.
  • My friends.  You know who you are.  Whether we talk once a day, once a week or once every six months.... you are in my thoughts and you are in my heart, and my life is richer because you're in it.
  • My fellow breast cancer warriors - the Bellas and my KCA sisters.  You are all amazing, beautiful, special women full of courage, strength, love, support, knowledge, humor and hope, and knowing you gives me hope for my future, and I know I'll never have to walk any part of this road alone.
My life is full of so many blessings, I can't possibly name them all.  Even if I could, chemo brain would prevent me from remembering them all!  I'm happy, I'm getting stronger every day, I'm wearing fuzzy socks and about to have homemade chocolate birthday cake.  Life is good.

Happy Thanksgiving, from my family to yours.