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 28, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1218

The night before last, I had trouble falling asleep.  I was restless, I felt edgy and raw, and I just had this feeling that something bad was going to happen.  I have written that same exact thing a few times before right here in my blog.... and each time I've been right.

Yesterday at work Hubby came into my office and showed me his hand:  he had lost his wedding ring.  He never takes it off.  NEVER.  The only time he did was two weeks ago when he had neck surgery.  I kept it safe in my purse, and put it back on his finger myself when he was awake again.  He can't remember when, where or why he took it off after that, and our efforts to find it have been unsuccessful.  I attributed my bad feeling to that.  It's very upsetting, for him and me.

I should have known.  I don't get that feeling over something "upsetting".
This morning I received a text from my BFF.  Her mom had passed away in the early morning hours.  

Before my mom had cancer, before I had cancer, before my BFF had cancer, Barb was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She fought through surgery and chemo and came out on the other side...a little older, a little more tired, a little scarred, but still the same old Barb.  She was not the pity party type.  She was matter of fact, and a fighter.  If you didn't know she was sick, you would never know, because she never complained.  I'm not positive, but I think Barb had reached the 5 year milestone which is the magic number in cancer survivorship.  

I met my BFF in homeroom at the beginning of seventh grade.  We were inseparable for years and years until she met her hubby, moved away and got married.  We have a long history of roller rinks, double dates, New Year's Eve parties and vacations.  My family was hers, and her family was mine.  I probably spent more of my teenage years at her house than my own.  I loved her mom like.... a mom.  On my visits back home each summer, even when my BFF wasn't there at the same time, I would still stop by for a visit, or better yet, meet at Pizza Star for lunch.  This was taken this past summer:

If you didn't laugh when you were around this couple, there is something wrong with you.  They both would talk a mile a minute, often over the top of each other.  Half the time I didn't know which conversation to pay attention to.  You rarely saw one without the other, and it's only fitting that Barb passed away with her hubby by her side.  I'm so sad for him.  I can't even imagine how lost he must be.  They're still young!  How do you spend fifty years with someone and then have to live without them?

I'm sad for my friend T and her sister.  To this group of people, family is everything.  Barb was definitely the glue that held them all together.  T told me when her mom was sent home with hospice that she wasn't ready to say goodbye to her.  How could she be?  

I'm heartbroken for Barb's grandchildren.  My kids lost two grandmothers in 2010 and my heart still mourns the memories they will not get to make.  I think about those four young people who loved Barb and it makes me cry.

A big part of why I'm so sad is because of how much everyone else who loved her has lost.  I'm not the only one who experienced happiness and laughter because of Barb.  Her husband, her family, her nieces and nephews, her friends..... everyone whose world was a little brighter because Barb was in it - they are all covered in darkness tonight.  Sorrow.  

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  (Matthew 5:4)

I know Barb is at peace.  Her body is healed, her spirit is restored and she doesn't have to fight anymore.  And that is a comfort.  If you've ever watched someone die from cancer, you know, you witness just how weary they get of fighting.  As trite as it sounds, I am comforted by the fact that I know she is in a better place.  But...

Not only am I sad because someone who has been a part of my life for thirty years is no longer, I am mad.  MAD.  😡  Why are people still dying of cancer?  Why????

And not only am I mad, but I'm scared.  I'm scared to death, because as selfish as it sounds, I'M NOT READY.  I had breast cancer, just a few years after Barb did.  So am I next?   Barb may not have been the picture of health in recent months, but to my knowledge she didn't know that cancer was once again taking over her body.  Sneaky bastard.  It just happens, and after you've fought the beast once, the second time is often devastatingly final.  I don't have survivor's guilt...... I have survivor's FEAR.  As long as people keep beating this disease, it gives me hope that I can continue to beat it.  But when there is a loss, especially a loss so close to my heart, it brings that fear right back to the surface.

Rest in peace, Barb.  I hope you spend an eternity wandering the shores of the place you loved most.  Thank you for the memories, and thank you for loving me and my family.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1202

Today Hubby and I are finally switching roles after three and a half years.  He's having surgery to get rid of the pain in his neck (NOT ME!!  😎) and I get to be caregiver for the next few weeks.  Since August 1, 2013 I have been the patient and he has been... well.... everything:  husband, friend, shoulder to cry on, hand to hold, calm in the midst of my storm.  He has had to do things most nurses don't even want to do, and he's never once complained.

I have a feeling we're going to find out he's better at taking care of me than letting me take care of him.  Men in general don't make the best patients.  They like to be in control, they don't like to admit weakness and they don't want anyone telling them what they can and can't do.  However, this isn't like going to the dentist and needing to take a Xanax.  Hubby will be out of work for 2 weeks minimum.  He won't be able to drive for 2 weeks minimum.  He will have to wear a neck brace for 6-8 weeks.  And he'll have a nagging wife making sure he follows doctor's orders!

Please say a prayer as Hubby has surgery today.  Pray for a safe surgery, minimal pain and fast healing.  Living in constant pain is incredibly draining, and he's been doing that without complaint for years.  Now it's his turn.  I hope that I can be to him what he's been for me for 1202 days, and I hope and pray that this surgery will eliminate his pain.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1195

December 5th seems to be a happy day for me.

Last year on this day we put up our Christmas tree.  Sitting in the living room with all the lights off with just the glow of the Christmas tree is one of the most peaceful things to me.  Decorating a tree is nothing major to celebrate for most, but when you're tired or hurting or recovering from chemo or a surgery, it's a monumental task. It's something I was unable to accomplish this past weekend because I had zero energy.  Our tree has been sitting on the porch for a week.  I love Christmas, and I love having everything decorated.  I just wish I could snap my fingers and have it done.

Two years ago on this day my dad came home from the nursing home.  He had been in the hospital and rehab since his stroke in August, and on 12/5/14 he was able to go back home.  It saddens me to see how much my dad's life has changed.  He went from working full time (often overtime), being active in church, playing in a bowling league and being an avid golfer, to being unable to walk without a walker.  However, Christmas is the season of miracles.  When I flew home in August 2014, the doctor told me over the phone that I should prepare myself for the worst.  Instead, I still have my dad.  He traded golf clubs and a fishing pole for Judge Judy reruns and physical therapy, but I'll take it.

Three years ago on this day I had my last of eight chemo treatments.  That was just the beginning of what would be a long, long road of treatment and surgeries, but for me it was the biggest hurdle.  I wish I could lose the thirty pounds cancer and its treatment gave me, I wish I wasn't so darn tired all the time, and I wish I didn't hurt.  However, those are minor complaints compared to having to fight for your life.  

I was smiling in this picture and I'm still smiling today.  I'm working, I'm able to be a wife and mom (although not quite the superwife and supermom I was), I'm active in K's softball league and I'm a proud band parent.  This is about as normal as my life has been since d-day.

This December 5th, the most remarkable thing to report is a clean bill of health from my dentist appointment this morning.  Ha!  But as I said, things slowly getting back to normal is not being taken for granted.  

Just for fun, here's my new Christmas favorite:

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1169

I am a young(ish), white, college-educated female from New York.  According to every political model, every poll, every political strategist, I should have voted for Hillary Clinton.

I did not.

Not voting for Hillary Clinton does not mean I think Donald Trump is the best person for the job.  Honestly, out of the MILLIONS of people qualified and eligible to run for President, I'm embarrassed that our search was narrowed down to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  That's the problem with our political system.  While it is not mathematically impossible for a third party candidate, or even a write-in on the ballot, to win, the American people are really only given the choice between the two people the Democratic and Republican parties choose as their candidates.  That sucks.

So what do you do when you are forced to choose between two people you would never have chosen?  I did research.  I probably researched more for this election than any other on where the candidates stood on every issue.  I suffered through the debates...something I've never done before.  I took multiple "quizzes" to see which candidate best matched my beliefs and where I stand on all of the issues being raised in the campaign.  Every single time, I aligned with Donald Trump more than anyone else.

Do I like him?  Nope.  Do I think he has a CLUE what being President of the USA will entail?  Nope.  Do I think America could have come up with someone better, someone more likable, someone more capable?  You bet.  But we didn't.  It came down to a choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.  In my opinion, what Donald Trump has going for him is that he is incredibly smart.  He knows he doesn't have any idea how to take over the office of the President.  He has never held any public office of any kind.  He has no political background whatsoever.  So he's going to need help.  And he is smart enough to know that, and to surround himself with people who will help him.  I don't believe any presidential cabinet has ever been as important as Trump's will be.  And I have faith that he will appoint people that know how to guide him.

I have never considered myself to be a Republican.  I have voted democrat in all but one of the presidential elections I've been eligible to participate in.  I voted for Bill Clinton.  i voted for Al Gore.  I voted for President Obama (the first time).  So don't think I voted for Trump simply because he is the Republican nominee.  I don't vote along party lines - I vote for issues.... for things I believe need to change.  That's why I voted for Barack Obama the first time.  I didn't give a fig that he was going to be the first African American President.  Who cares?  If he's the best person for the job, I was all for it.  If I believed Hillary Clinton was the best person for the job, I would have voted for her because of that, not because she would be the first woman President.

There was a time that I actually thought she would have been the best.  Years ago I was a Hillary supporter.  I thought she was a brilliant choice for Secretary of State (ha) and I thought her path into politics was a good one.  In the years since, I have lost all respect for her.  After all the research I have done on this election, I honestly cannot tell you what her campaign promised.  It wasn't a campaign for her, it was a campaign against Donald Trump.  You're not going to win my vote just by telling me how bad the other person is.  Did Donald Trump participate in the smear campaign?  Of course.  But he also spread his message, and Americans heard it loud and clear.

I believe that Hillary Clinton is a product of our political system.  That's why every media outlet, every political scientist, every "educated" person assumed she would win this election.  She has become a career politician, and we have a long line of elected presidents who were all career politicians.  For me personally, that was enough to sway my vote the other way.  I don't trust her.  I don't like her.  I don't think that she cares about the American people.  I admit I haven't paid much attention to the details of the email scandal, but you don't delete 30,000 emails and then say you have nothing to hide.  The older I get, the more conservative I've become.  
  • I believe in the sanctity of human life.  I can't support someone who promotes aborting babies at 36 weeks.  I lost two babies to miscarriage early on in my pregnancies.  What I wouldn't give to have had them make it to 36 weeks.
  • I believe in the safety of our country.  People are frantic, afraid of being deported.  First, if you are an American citizen, you have no reason to be afraid, regardless of your nationality.  If you are not an American citizen, then you should be afraid.  I do not support any candidate that will fight for the rights of illegal aliens over the rights of American citizens.  End of story.  The horrors that happen in other countries are just that... horrors.  But they are OTHER COUNTRIES.  Let's worry about our own country first!  Lord knows we have enough problems right here.  I am not saying we shouldn't help when and where we can.... but no other country is an open door.  Why do we have to be?
  • I believe America needs a strong leader.  If anyone could have been the first female President, I believe Hillary could have.  However, no matter how far we've come, this is a man's world.  People mock Donald Trump and say the rest of the world will not respect him.  I ask them this... how many countries are there, powerful countries, who give women little to no rights?  They treat them like property.  Do you honestly think they would respect a country that lets a woman lead them?
I'm well aware of Donald Trump's faults.  If you've watched five minutes of this campaign over the last two years, you have had them shoved in your face.  He's rude.  He's a jerk, He's a narcissist.  Do I agree with how he has treated some women?  Some people with disabilities?  Some children?  Absolutely not.  But I also believe Hillary Clinton is all of those things.  She has just had decades of training in how to conceal it.  

Do you know how far removed from my little world the President of the United States is?  Do I want my children to grow up possibly seeing their country's leader as a bully?  Of course not.  But Barack Obama has had zero influence on who my children are becoming.   Sad, but true.  They have a father, a mother, a brother, uncles, teachers.... THOSE are the people in their lives who will influence them and their behavior.  They are kids, and I let them be kids.  To me, growing up, the President was just someone who interrupted tv and then there was nothing to watch. What I hope is that my kids see their President as someone who has the best interests of our country at heart, despite his or her faults.  If Donald Trump is a bully, I hope it's because he bullies anyone who threatens all that America stands for. 

(FYI Hubby and I have not talked politics with our children at all, and both of them said they would vote for Donald Trump)

The bottom line is that I believe Hillary Clinton is a much bigger threat to our nation than Donald Trump is to me.  I will still go to work, and watch my daughter's softball games, and go to band concerts.  The sun will still come up, we will go out to eat and cook Thanksgiving dinner, people will go shopping on Black Friday, and the new year will come January first.  I want all of that to happen in a country that is safe, secure and prosperous.  I believe Donald Trump wants that, too.  

I think that the Democratic Committee knew they had the best shot at the Presidency by offering up another "let's make history" campaign.  It worked for President Obama.  Presenting a well known politician as a viable candidate for the first female President was smart.  Unfortunately, in my eyes, the list of cons was much longer than the list of pros, and I wasn't going to vote for her just so we could elect a female President.  

America wants change.  Why else would they elect a brash, rude, arrogant businessman with zero political experience???  Donald Trump is a billionaire.  He has everything he could possibly want.  He didn't have to do this.  Honestly, going to live in the White House will be a step down for him.  Air Force One probably isn't even as nice as the Trump jet.  ha  I truly believe that he saw an opportunity and he took it.  Nobody wants to be a laughingstock, and yet he put himself out there, over and over, oftentimes making a fool of himself.  His wife became the object of ridicule.  His supporters were called "deplorables".  He never backed down, and he never changed his message.  

I find it appalling that people lose friends over an election.  I didn't vote for who was best based on anyone's beliefs except my own.  I have Latino friends.  I have African American friends.  I have gay and lesbian friends.  I don't care who they voted for.  The fact that they preferred one candidate over the other because they believed that person was best based on THEIR values should have no bearing on how I feel about them, or vice versa.   Hubby and I haven't always voted the same, and we're still married.  ha ha

I'm not writing this to sway anyone to my side.  This was a very divisive election and it'll take a lot of time for people to get over it if they were not on the winning side.  Honestly, I was against Obama four years ago and I am STILL not over it.  I cringe anytime I have to listen to his condescending speeches.  But you know what?  I survived these four years, and had the opportunity to vote for someone new.  For everyone who is devastated because Donald Trump is the President-Elect.... remember that we are still ONE NATION UNDER GOD.  Kindness and unity begin with one small step.  We need to look out for one another, even if we all do it in our own way.  My way is quiet.  Donald Trump's is not.  Whether you respect him and what he stands for or not, as an American, you should respect the office of the President.  

And don't worry, in another four years we get to do this all over again.

God bless America.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1144

Dear Hubby,

Fifteen years ago today, we stood at the courthouse and said "I do".  There wasn't a big crowd or white dress or cake to cut.  There was no first dance or a honeymoon.  None of that matters.  We have proven that the marriage is more important than the wedding, and our commitment to each other was made before October 15, 2001.  You see, I had already turned myself over to you, heart and soul, long before then.  The smartest decision of my life was when I chose you.  When I chose the life I wanted to have with you. 

Fifteen years is more than a third of my life.  We have seen our share of ups and downs.  We have had babies and lost babies.  We've celebrated marriages of family and friends and we have held each other through the losses of people close to us.  We have seen each other through injuries and illness, happy times and sad times, vacations and the everyday grind.

There's no question that I would not have made it through the last three years without you.  You have seen me at my absolute worst:  sick, tired, bald, scarred and scared.  And you loved me through it.  You have been so strong when I couldn't be, even though I know your world was turned upside down.  You have changed bandages, held me when I was sick, emptied drains and made me feel pretty through all of it, simply because of the way you looked at me.  You never saw any of that stuff.  When that was all I could focus on, you still saw ME.

From the day we met, you have been a calm, steady presence in my life.  You are the glue that holds me together when I feel like everything is falling apart.  You are the strong arms that hold me when I need comfort, you're the shoulder I cry on when life gets to be too much.  You make me laugh every day. 

You have given me two of the greatest joys of my life.  J and K make me proud every single day, and I love our little family with every fiber of my being.

Our kids keep us so busy that our focus is usually on their lives and activities.  But before there was them, there was us.

Our love is the foundation that we've built our family on, and it is solid as a rock.  I love that yours is the last face I see at night, and I love waking up next to you every morning. 

Thank you for giving me you.  I couldn't love you more.
Happy 15th Anniversary.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1129

It's October y'all.

Know what that means?  Football and cooler nights and sweaters and pumpkin scented everything.

It also means a deluge of pink ribbons everywhere.  You'll see more fundraisers for breast cancer awareness this month than you will the rest of the months of the year combined.  You'll be able to buy pink trash bags, pink socks, pink ribbon jewelry.... everything from shampoo to sweatshirts will turn pink for October.  The NFL players will be wearing pink socks and gloves.  Even our high school football team has a "Pink Out" game.

The sad part is, most of that money is simply revenue for the companies capitalizing on an extremely popular marketing campaign.  If you look at the numbers, very little of the money spent on pink ribbon stuff actually goes towards funding anything to do with breast cancer.  

That sucks.  But you know what?  For me, buying a pink ribbon bracelet because it's pretty and your mother had breast cancer is ok.  Wearing pink ribbon fuzzy socks on the first cold day because you couldn't resist them is ok.  I'm pretty sure there aren't too many people around who are not aware of breast cancer.  One in eight women will get it, which means a lot more of those eight will be directly affected by it.  Choose how you participate in the pink ribbon campaign wisely.  Going without a bra for a day to "save the ta tas" is not ok.... it's a Facebook gimmick. 
(If you want some cute stuff and help fund mammograms for women while you're at it, shop at The Breast Cancer Site.  They will tell you exactly how much of your purchase goes toward breast cancer funding.)

A couple of weeks ago I was talking with a softball coach from out of town, and she mentioned that her mom has breast cancer.  I told her that I am a three year breast cancer survivor, and her email reply was:

That's AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

Yeah.  It damn sure is.

Next weekend is our softball league's fifth annual "Hope for a Cure" tournament.  K's team will be wearing special pink ribbon jerseys, and I bought Hubby a pin that says "Real men wear pink".  Not because I want to jump on the Pinktober bandwagon, but because this has been a very real, very difficult, very personal journey and "Pinktober" MEANS something to me.  When I hand out the trophies and medals to the winning teams next Sunday and tell them that I'm a breast cancer survivor, it shows those young girls that breast cancer is more than just a pink ribbon on a cup.  I can look at them and smile and tell them thank you for playing for a such a good cause.  I can give them a face for "Pinktober".

From my October 1st blog post two years ago:

I don't wear pink to make people aware.  I don't wear my pink ribbon necklace so people will know I had breast cancer.  I support "the cause", because in turn, I'm supporting the women who have been and are right there with me.  Fighting cancer is a big, huge deal, and every day that I wake up breathing and smiling is a big fat "f-you" to cancer.  And that's worth wearing pink for! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1119

There haven't been many days in the last 1000+ that I haven't been tired, but lately my fatigue is at a whole new level.  If I wasn't so tired, I would probably be really worried.

This is me at work today:

I'm not kidding.  
It probably didn't help that I took a muscle relaxer at midnight last night.  But what are you supposed to do when you go to sleep, then wake up fifteen minutes later with serious jitters and restless legs?  I needed help - fast.

I'm a night owl.  I always have been.
Mornings are not my friend.  My mother wakes up at 5am (or earlier) every day.... without an alarm clock.  Seriously?  That's practically the middle of the night for me.  
Lately I've been fighting some kind of cold with a migraine or allergies or SOMEthing, and have been staying up way too late working on softball stuff.  So last night I went to bed at 10:30, determined to get a good night's sleep.

It didn't work out for me.  I fell asleep fine, but staying asleep was the problem.  How can I be so incredibly exhausted and yet unable to sleep?

It doesn't really matter if I go to bed at 10pm or 1am.  It doesn't matter if I go to work, or if I go back to bed after the kids leave for school and nap until 11am.  I never feel rested.
Is this a post-cancer thing?  A menopause thing?  A life is so busy I just need a hundred naps thing?
Or is something else going on... something possibly scary and worrisome that I don't even want to think about?

I'm blaming it on Tamoxifen, which has been proven to cause symptoms similar to chemo brain.
In fact, Tamoxifen has been linked to symptoms like being unusually disorganized, confusion, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, impaired verbal memory (e.g. remembering a conversation), impaired visual memory (e.g. recalling an image or list of words) and other similar problems. 

I'm like a toddler with ADHD.  I'm exhausted but can't sleep, can't pay attention, can't stay on task, etc.  There is hope, though.  From WebMD:

For the study, Mark Noble and his research team first sought to identify whether brain and central nervous system cells were sensitive to tamoxifen. They found one type of cell that was particularly vulnerable to the drug. After just two days of exposure to tamoxifen at levels similar to those someone in treatment would receive, 75 percent of these cells died.

"AZD6244 is being studied for cancer therapy. It protects normal cells, but it doesn't protect cancer cells. It may even make cancer cells more sensitive to some types of therapies," Noble said.

I don't know how soon the additional research on this AZD drug will happen, so it's probably years away from being a viable option.  But considering I have to take Tamoxifen for ten years.... maybe eventually I'll get back to being sharp, smart, organized and energetic.

Maybe.  But looks like that's not happening today.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1109

I wanted to write something profound, something that would touch people and mean something on this, the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11.
Then I realized I already had.  The following post is from my blog five years ago, on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  I still feel exactly as I did that day, and I couldn't have written anything better.

Never forget.

September 11, 2011

Monday, September 5, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1103

Lately I've felt like Snoopy in that cartoon.  I don't claim to be a writer in any way, shape or form .... but as a blogger, writer's block can and has hit me a time or two.  This is one of those times.

In 2013 I was in the midst of a grueling chemo regimen designed to save my life.  I had a lot more to write about back then.  Chemo details, cold caps, appointments, medication, injections, side effects... the list was endless.  Now that life is settling into a new normal for me, it's more of a same stuff, different day kind of thing.

I have four cancer doctors.  One of them I only have to see once a year.  The other three are six month visits.  I'm lucky because aside from Tamoxifen side effects, I'm feeling pretty good, so when I go to an appointment, I usually get a "everything looks good, see you in six months".  Considering where I was this time three years ago, I consider that progress.  If hot flashes, hip pain and restless legs are my biggest complaints, I can't really complain.

One area I haven't made a lot of progress in is dealing with the fear.  I don't have any reason to believe I am not cancer free.  I did everything medically possible to give myself the best chance to live a lot of years with NED (no evidence of disease).  Sixteen weeks of chemo, seven surgeries, six weeks of radiation and now eight more years of hormone therapy..... that's a pretty impressive attack on cancer.  

The unknown is a dark and scary place, though.  I haven't had a scan since I finished chemo.  My mom had colon cancer and she has routine CT scans to check for the dreaded C.  While those scans are nerve-wracking, it's a relief when she gets the all clear.  Aside from routine blood work when I see Dr. H, I don't have any tests or procedures to check for cancer.  Basically, unless my labs go wonky or I start showing worrisome symptoms, everyone is happy, and that is my "all clear".  Despite that, there's a small part of me that always, always expects to have the other shoe drop eventually.  I'm only 43 years old and I had Stage III cancer.  I'm also positive for the BRCA 2 gene, which means my chances of getting breast cancer, as well as many other cancers, are much higher than normal.  That's serious business to me.  

How do I combat that fear?  By being grateful for every moment.  I get to watch my son march with his band during the halftime shows at football games.  He loves band, and I love that for him.  

I get to spend most of my free time doing softball stuff.... I am vice president and scheduler for the league, and team mom for K's team.  Saturday she had five games and she pitched and/or caught in all of them.  I love, love, love watching her and her Diamonds teammates play.  

Today is Labor Day, which means I got to spend an extra day with Hubby.  We walked hand in hand through Lowe's, planning a bathroom update.  Two years ago I was recovering from surgery.  Today I was shopping for a vanity.

A couple weeks ago my sister-in-law (another cancer survivor) accompanied me to my doctor appointment in Dallas and we had an overnight detour at the casino.  Last week I had dinner and a drink with a friend.  I read a lot, I drive around with the sunroof open and the music loud, and I've been binge watching Sons of Anarchy with my husband.

Football games, softball games, band performances, dinners out with friends, home improvements..... all little things that add up to one big thing:  my life.

There have been many dark days since August 1, 2013, but life is so good.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1085

So apparently I have kids in middle school and high school.  How did THAT happen?

This afternoon I had a lunch date with my son.  He's a fun guy to hang out with.  Honest.  He's a moody, cranky, hormone-driven, puberty-stricken man-child, but he's pretty low maintenance for a teenager.  And he's extremely clever and very funny.  Afterward we went shopping for school supplies.  For a freshman, that consisted of one spiral notebook, a 3-pack of mechanical pencils and an electric razor.  Whoa.... wait!  A RAZOR!?!??!  Yes.  His high school does not allow any facial hair.  I'm not sure how on earth I suddenly have a boy old enough to shave, but there you have it.

Tonight we went to our last ever "Meet the Teacher".  Thankfully it was relatively painless.  Her campus is 5th and 6th grades, but only 5th has meet the teacher night, so it wasn't nearly the mad house that the other schools have been.  I'm extremely happy that K not only knows several people in her class this year (including the boy she's been crushing on... oooh la la), but she apparently lucked out and got the teacher other people requested.  Last year's trio of fantastic teachers will be hard to top, but it's nice to know we're starting out on a high note.

Both kids are excited for school.  It's a whole new world for both of them.... new schools, new teachers, new schedules.  I pray that they, along with their teachers, have a fantastic year.  
Now if someone could just tell me which bus they will ride....

Monday, August 8, 2016

Kicking cancer's ass - day 1075

Time for another insomniac blogging post...

The story of my life these days.....waking up exhausted, feeling drained by 3pm, needing a nap at 7pm and being wide awake at 10pm.  

I've always been a night owl.  My mother and my son are morning people.  Like wake up at ridiculously early hours without an alarm kind of morning people.  Not me.  I need an alarm and four or five snooze hits to wake up.  I hate having to set an alarm.  Once I'm asleep, I like to SLEEP!  But I also like to stay up late.  A quiet house late at night is bliss for me.  Most of the time that's because I've got my nose buried in a book.  Or I'm playing 1010 on my phone....... the seriously addictive game my kids introduced me to.  Sometimes I'm researching Dr. Google for whatever mysterious ailment is plaguing me lately.  Or I'm scouring Facebook for posts by other people who are awake in the middle of the night too.  

Since my days of fighting cancer began, the words night owl took on an entirely new meaning.  I want to sleep.  I need to sleep.  But the time comes to go to bed and suddenly I'm wide awake... or my hip starts hurting me... or most often, my restless legs kick in.  Tonight it's all three, and even with the help of a pain pill and a restless legs pill, it's 12:13am and I'm still awake.

I should be sleepy.  Yesterday I logged over 10,000 steps in 102 degree heat at K's softball tournament, and I was up at 6:30am today to be back at the fields for a morning game.  Some shopping, four loads of laundry, vacuuming and cooking dinner filled my the rest of my day..... none of that wore me out apparently.  

Eventually I will get tired.  My legs will hopefully calm down enough so that I can go to bed and at least lay there until I'm sleepy.  I don't mind that.  I always joke when my kids complain about going to bed that I wish someone would tell ME to go to bed.  Ha.  

I love my bed.  I love my pillow.  I love going to bed having Hubby right next to me.
I just wish sleep came as easily as it used to, because nothing is more frustrating than lying awake counting down the hours until you have to get up for work.

Hubby and J have to be up by 6:15am - Hubby for work and J for band practice, so they've both been asleep for hours.  K and I have to be up by 6:45am - me for work and K for church camp, but I have obviously NOT been asleep for hours.  

As a cancer patient, there are a lot of legitimate reasons to have trouble sleeping.  In the beginning, the emotions and the fear and the anxiety take hold and it's hard to dial it all down.  Steroids during chemo keep you going until you eventually crash.  Pain after surgery makes sleeping very uncomfortable.  Hot flashes from menopause make trying to sleep an Olympic event.  

Maybe my body has just had too long (1075 days) to get used to not sleeping.  
Cancer is the gift that keeps on giving.