Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Proud Sister

My younger brother Frank was on a show last week, X-Play on G4. His company created a game, The Maw, that was chosen for an independent game competition. Here is the interview and an article about it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

What is the best part about making brownies?

By 10 a.m., Dawson had brownie batter, paint, glue and glitter somewhere on his clothing and body. This is a day that 2-year olds dream of.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back to school cake

A kind woman from our church wanted to do something special for David on his first day of school and brought us this cake. She said it was a tradition in their house until the last one went off to college. Our boys are very excited to dig in.

He's Off!

Yes, I was the mom crying at the bus stop today. A lot of the other moms' kids started school yesterday so they already went through this. On top of the trauma of my firstborn leaving, they changed his bus number and we only found out about 30 seconds before it showed up. So, I have his bus number on his tag and burned in his brain and they changed it!
Dawson is making sure my mind stays off of David today and is being especially peachy (not).

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's hard to get used to this part.

David came to the breakfast table and announced, "Mom, there is hair all over the bathroom." My hair started falling out over the weekend. Today was the worst. I have been told it will only thin, probably not to the point it fell out last year. It still is unnerving to see so much come out of my head. I can't keep up with cleaning it up. It seems like I have it all and more surfaces. Having hair seems to be my way of not being a chemo mom - it doesn't announce to the world how I spend my Thursday mornings.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"Mild pain" is a nice way of putting it

So, I encouraged my husband to go fishing today to celebrate the end of his class and a way for him to relax. I thought, up until now, the weekend post chemo hasn't been too bad. No problem. He left last night for the friend's house so he could spend the night to arise early this morning. Just about the time I would have headed off to bed, my body started feeling the effects of the Neulasta shot. I have pain meds for it but my stomach hasn't been well the last few days so I was afraid to disturb it more. Sleep was not cooperating, even after I took the medicine. But, I am very thankful for Saturday morning cartoons which allowed me to take my time waking up today.

Our big plans for today were grocery shopping and going to a local circus later this afternoon. Since David begins school next week (still hard for me to say), we needed to get things for lunches, etc. Why don't they have benches inside grocery stores? My kids have a place to sit, but not me. I debated on leaving a full cart there to get home, but I had invested so much of my time already. I explained to my boys we were in, "Get the stuff and get out of here" mode. They did great!

Next problem, getting all of that stuff in the house. We have a split level and I have joked about moments when the stairs seem to multiply, like today. 2 of my wonderful neighbors and my boys helped me carry the things upstairs and helped me put the things away. Thank you so much, guys!

David already made me cry today when we were talking about him returning to school. I told him I was sad that he was going back but he has told me how excited he is. He told me that kids have to go back to school so they can learn, but I told him how much I will miss him. Who is the parent here?? Well, Dawson had his moment today too. He saw me with my head down and crying. He asked, in his way, "Sad cause cansird came back?" (Translation: "Are you sad because your cancer came back?" ) After I got over the shock of his words, I told him I wasn't sad, my body just hurt.

We still have plans for the circus later this afternoon. It should be easy because my job is to sit and enjoy the time with the boys.

Next week, I have off from chemo. I am so looking forward to the break. But, I think we will need to plan Dave's fishing trips on a different chemo week.

The cancer center can be fun??

I decided to take the boys with me today to get my Neulasta shot. They aren't allowed past a certain point in the chemo room and I wasn't sure how that was going to go with Dawson. Fortunately, there is a large window with a view of the pond and fountain. The chemo nurses don't see little guys much and were more than happy to entertain them while I was occupied. I think both boys really liked it there. It could be because there is a little stand at the entrance with treats and a cool magnet table in the lobby. I always looked at the cancer center as somewhere I dread most days. I pull up to the parking lot and hate that I am there. But, today was different. I saw it through their eyes and their innocence as a beautiful building and grounds, that just happens to sell chocolate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chemo life

I went to the doctor today for my routine pre-chemo visit. Nothing exciting except my white blood cell count is low. Sometimes, this can delay chemo a week but my doctor decided to give me chemo tomorrow and then a shot of Neulasta the next day. This shot helps boost my counts but can cause "mild to moderate bone pain." I experienced such "mild" pain the first go around and it felt far from mild to me. However, I only experienced this on the first shot and was okay after the initial dose. It seems I will need this every third week of chemo. My body just needs a little help and then I get a week off to replenish and recover.

So, we are washing our hands more frequently. Hopefully, my 2 petri dishes will keep their germs to themselves until this shot takes effect.

We are also preparing for the return to school. We timed our walk to the bus stop and it was actually quicker when Dawson was with us than when he wasn't! Now, we need to add a few minutes to the walk because I don't think any of us will have much spring to our step at 7:30 a.m. David begins his first full day of school on Tuesday and then Dawson begins preschool the next week. Next week is my week off from chemo and I am happy it fell on the first week of school. I won't have to be racing anywhere around drop off and pickup. David is very excited to go to a new school and ride the bus. Both boys are ready - but I am a different story . . .

Thursday, August 14, 2008

10 years later

Today, Dave and I celebrate 10 years together. 10 years ago today we went on our first date. We drove to Rehoboth Beach. That wasn't the original plan. He was supposed to pick me up at my parents' house in Middletown and then we were going to go to Newark for coffee or something. He comes to pick me up and asks me how adventurous I am and if I want to go Rehoboth. I'm thinking, "That is about 2-3 hours, there and back, with this guy in the car. I guess we'll see if we click." Apparently we clicked. One year later, he proposed to me in Rehoboth in a life guard chair, the same place where we had our first kiss on our first date. I'm not sure who was more nervous when he proposed - he asking the question or me trying not to drop the ring in the sand!

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 going on 15

This is a conversation I overheard today between David and a little girl at the playground. He had been playing with her for a few minutes when I heard this:

David: "What's your name?"

Girl: "Allison"

David: "What's your phone number?"

Me: "David, what are you doing?"

David: "Mom, I like her!"

Me: "David, you need to be a little more subtle."

The problem with trying to pick up 5 year olds on the playground - some of them don't know their phone number yet.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Chemo Update

3 days after my first chemo and I am doing pretty well. This drug didn't slow me down much. I had some moments to deal with but overall, it wasn't bad. I have more difficulty getting going in the morning but once my engine starts, I am okay. I have been able to exercise every day since Thursday and even took a brief walk that evening. I pray it remains this easy.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Tomorrow is the big day

Tomorrow, I will begin chemo again. It was an uneventful day with the boys, just playing and getting some things done around the house. It was actually a welcomed change of pace. We went to the beach for a few days earlier in the week and I feel like we have been going most of the summer just to get in all of the fun stuff we wanted to do. It was nice to slow down for the day.

I have been getting a lot of questions about the drug I will receive on this round of chemo. This 2005 article has been very helpful to me. It explains the difference from the drug I did receive last year and the one they will be giving me. I have been told that I may not have any hair loss this time or it will just thin. But, I have my hats and wigs ready. I was also told it shouldn't knock me out the way the last round of chemo did. I will experience some fatigue, but it should be more manageable. We'll see. I don't think the 2 balls of energy I have are usually considered in these talks of "fatigue!"

In the meantime, we are getting ready for David to go to Kindergarten and Dawson to enter preschool. Fortunately, I was able to schedule my chemos and doctor's appointments around their school times. We only have about 3 weeks of appointments where I will need help with the boys until they start school. My week off from chemo is also David's first week of school.

We have begun noticing some wheezing when I need to take deep breaths and some discomfort in my chest, so I am ready to begin this process so I can feel better again. We are also very thankful for the encouraging cards, emails and comments we have received. We appreciate your concern and prayers. I am now off for my walk!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hershey Park Happy

We took the boys to Hershey Park yesterday and to Chocolate World today. We found out a few things on this trip:

1) David loves roller coasters! Dave finally has someone to join him on most roller coasters. I have been advised not to ride on them (which is really okay with me). The two of them were so excited when David was tall enough to ride some of them.

2) The Park has a well-staffed First Aid Unit. 2 guesses which child spent about an hour being treated. (Hey, at least it wasn't me!)

3) You can actually get tired of looking at and eating chocolate.

Here are some photos from our trip: