Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Some more much needed R & R

We are preparing for a trip to Williamsburg to the Great Wolf Lodge. Dave will not be joining us. The boys and I will be meeting some friends and it is a great place for both the kids and adults. It is an indoor waterpark, so the kids stay happy. It has a great restaurant and spa, so the parents are happy, too.

After we return, Dave and I are going to get away for an early Valentine's Day. I have found it helpful to do something fun before each hurdle . When Dave and I get back, I will be beginning radiation.

My big deal this week is registering David for kindergarten at the elementary school. How did this happen so fast? I just registered Dawson for preschool in the Fall. My babies grew up. Dawson's latest phrase when asked a Why question is, "I d'know." complete with a shoulder shrug. David's latest phrase is (not so cute), "I don't care." I asked him why he says that and he said he heard it from us. Ouch.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hair update

Someone asked for an updated hair photo. There it is. I even have some unruly hairs coming in. They just won't stay in place! This is a good problem to have, compared to the alternative - no hairs to stay in place.

"Chance" encounters

Yesterday, I had to get Herceptin again. I was sitting in the chemo room, drifting in and out of sleep. I had to get up and noticed the man sitting next to me. His IV bags were sitting on the table next to me with his name on it. It was the name of my Junior Prom date! I looked at the guy and knew that was NOT my junior prom date, but it could be his father. It turns out it was his father. He was being treated for throat cancer and we reminisced about high school and Middletown.

I met with my radiation oncologist today. I will begin radiation around February 11. I am not looking forward to this at all. I am finally starting to get back to feeling like myself and here comes another whammy. A few days ago, I started to notice that I was grouchier than usual. I realized over the weekend why I was being like that. In the back of my mind, I know I am about to face another hurdle. I have 3 weeks before it begins, but now there is this date hanging out there, waiting for me. Just in time for Valentines' Day!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

60 miles? - Piece of cake!

I just registered for the Philadelphia 3-day, 60 mile walk to fight breast cancer. It is in October and I should be physically able to handle it, along with a lot of training ahead of time.

This is the story of how I joined the walk. I saw a commercial on television for it and came downstairs and looked online. After watching the video and wiping away some serious tears, I saw that there are area "Get Started" meetings to learn more about the walk. There was one in my area a few days later. I was so excited. Here was the problem - we didn't have the money for the registration. So, we prayed, "God, if you want me to do this walk, you will provide this money." We joked that it would just be handed to us. I left that meeting so moved by the experience of the walk and I hadn't even done it yet! The boys were at their grandparents, so we took a long walk and talked about the meeting. Dave says that he was ready to stop and I wanted to keep walking!

The next day, I was handed a check by a friend whose family was affected by breast cancer. She knew I was interested in the walk and she wanted me to do it in honor of her mother. The check covered the registration fee plus a donation. So, now I am walking!!!! How is that for a neon sign?

If you would like to learn more about the walk, there is a link to my personal page to the right.

What a change in the weather!

This picture of the boys was taken on January 7. They were both riding their scooters in 50 degree weather.

This was today, only 9 days later! We spent 2 hours outside this afternoon sledding and having snowball fights. The neighbors and their children, some of which it feels like we haven't seen for months, emerged from their homes and we had a great time.

Recalling the past 6 months

I have recently had the opportunity to share with other women my experiences with cancer and surgery. There a lot of emotions that come with this - deep sadness for what they are about to endure; excitement to meet a fellow patient; and draining for me to recall those moments. I read some of my old blogs and journal entries and saw how much I spoke about hope and grace. There are days now when I forget about the hope I once had. My mind starts drifting to the fears of what lies ahead. In trying to help a friend, they have caused me to see what got me through this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Good News!

We had Dawson's ultrasound on his lymphnode today. It is an infection and he will be on an antibiotic for the next 10 days.

Thank you so much for all of your concern.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A Dawson scare

A little background first - About 3 weeks ago, Dawson started with a bad cough. We went to the pediatrician 2 weeks ago and he started Dawson on the nebulizer. During the visit, the doctor and I noticed the lymphnode under his left ear was swollen. Apparently, this is normal when people are sick. The doctor measured it and told me to notify him if it got larger.

I have been watching the lymphnode and didn't notice a change, but did notice it was not going away. Well, we were eating lunch today and the thing looked huge. It was protuding out of his neck and I knew it couldn't be normal. I called the doctor's office and got an appointment for this afternoon. The doctor measured it again and it had doubled in size. He told me to go for a blood test to check for tuberculosis and to also check his white blood cell count. These tests were to rule out TB and the possibility of lymphoma - that's right, cancer! The doctor ordered the tests STAT and told me he would call me tonight with the results. If something came up he didn't like, he said Dawson would be seen this weekend for further testing.

Fortunately, it didn't take TOO long for the phone call that his levels were normal. That poor boy is being squeezed a lot tonight! We still need to figure out what is wrong - could be an infection or a cyst. We will go for an ultrasound next week.

Honestly, I was having some words with God. Why???? Why is this even coming into the mix of our lives right now? Why put us through this again? One more thing? We are so thankful that there isn't an immediate concern. We are also emotionally zapped.

David went to Pop and Gam's tonight for a sleepover and before he left, I told him what was going on with Dawson. I told him we didn't know if Dawson was sick or not and we were waiting on the doctor's phone call. He said, "As soon as you know, you call Pop and Gam's and ask to speak with me. I want to know what the doctor says." I called him there and told him the good news. I also told him they still have to take pictures of the inside of Dawson's bump. He breathed a sigh of relief, as did we all. These children change my life everyday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


I would like to update you on Dawson's therapy. He has had about 3 sessions and is doing so well. He is saying some 2 word phrases on his own now. We are still reminding him frequently to speak instead of making noises, but we are seeing progress everyday.
His physical therapy is also going well. He needs to strengthen his torso and upper body. He is hanging on everything now, which is good, except when he is hanging on things not meant for that. That is when I say, "Good job, Dawson, now get down."

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Think warm!

I just returned from a brisk walk and it has done both my mind and body good. Dave took the boys with Pop to the Brandywine River Museum to look at the Christmas train exhibit.

I read an article in the newspaper today about happiness. Our sermon last Sunday also focused on what makes us happy. I started thinking about my own happiness. I can't say that I have felt happy a lot in the past 6 months, but I have definitely felt loved. Not only loved by friends and family but loved by God. I have realized that His love does not always look like "health and wealth", but those moments of grace in the midst of tragedy. We have seen blessings come from this - new relationships formed, financial burdens relieved and the opportunity to look at life in a different light. Grace today looks like this - I feel good today; I am able to think and process information today (this is a common struggle). I am even able to see a light at the end of this treatment. I am halfway through my hurdles and am able to think about our lives after cancer. Dream with me - 85 degrees outside, shorts and sandals (no more layers of clothing and outerwear to walk out of the house), long summer days - poolside. Sounds good, doesn't it? I am able to think about those summer days, cancer-free, which was not the case last summer.

I don't know what the future holds, but this is the first time since I heard "You have cancer" that I am able to envision life after this. But, if I knew what the future held, would I have been able to enjoy a day like today?