Monthly Archives: August 2010

Sticky brothers

Mom, Patricia, and Clark stopped by today. But this was the real highlight: there was a bald woman at the counter.  Since she was wearing a bandana and in her 60s, I assumed she was in chemo. She was getting ice cream. I took off my hat and said, “It will come back.” and explained that in a few weeks I was finally taking a break from a year of chemo . She seemed dumbfounded and confused. Looked shocked at the happy kids. She never asked what I had. She just saw the boys with big eyes.

Covered in Zits

OK, not covered. But I seem to have a breakout. I have one on my knuckle, several on my chin, bum-bum, etc. Just has I thought I had Tarceva’s zit factory under control.

Fleet Feet is hosting a women’s beginning running group. The time slot I am in is MW 8:45. There were 20 women taking their first running steps, or just rejuvenating their past. I pushed Tommy and he was perfectly happy. We were on the bike trail and as cyclists passed the group, someone yelled “bike.” The Tommy would echo, Baaaa. Afterward, two women joined me at Peet’s coffee and Tommy shared a pecan bun with me.

Davis has been spectacular for us. Steve has a long commute, but seems so happy here. My life as a stay-at-home mom, or as a parent is broadened every day. So I made new friends today, then for Paco’s soccer practice, I saw a few baseball parents. The teams for soccer had been organized well. 5 kids from Paco’s baseball team were on the same soccer team. The parents were all glad to see each other.

Earlier today, two of the dads and I were discussing the affection for vodka, and the vintner (who is saving a Cab Franc for when I can have red wine again) is planning on fresh margaritas when his tangerines will be ready to juice. I love that we all talk about evenings and food and celebration.

So yes, the zits are growing (Steve is saying, that looks like a bad zit (on my chin) and the Avastin makes my soreness extreme. Today I bonded with moms and dads and Steve made it home in time for dinner. Hmmm, maybe if I put baby motrin on the zit it would not be so huge tomorrow.

I mean, I am a medical experiment, no?

Shhh, I did something illegal

Last week, the sidewalk next door was replaced. I just could Not resist touching it.

Where is that kid? I have got to kiss him.

This weekend, whilst Steve has been in constant pain, I have been in mild discomfort. But somehow, life got…slightly organized.

Steve and I are both achy, but his back is full-blown labor pain, and my body is more post labor, sore in a positive way. Today I went for 2 walks with Lemon. That kid is the easiest kid in a stroller I have ever seen. He just loves witnessing life.

So I ate too much oatmeal this weekend and have been hurrying to the bathroom (too much fiber). I have emptied or consolidated boxes and have 20 on the front porch. I got my beloved NordicTrak together and ordered a lost part. Poor Paco, his room is still a mess. But Tommy follows him around everywhere. He just wants to be close to his brother. This week, perhaps I can attack his room.

The gods of laundry arrived and the clean laundry was mounting higher and higher on the sofa. Steve had nowhere to sit. I meanly assigned Steve to help me fold, and fold, and fold, and fold. The kids play area looks like a big closet. Piles of laundry exist based on who may wear them (Paco steals my socks, I steal Steve’s Argentina t-shirts). The laundry is folded.

The ups and down of health and work are a challenge. Steve is loving his new job, but his back is at its worst. For me, the need to step up and carry more boxes is helping me. Without the responsibility of boxes and children, I would not be moving. Moving is what Avastin needs. It is achy to get out of bed, or get up from a sofa, but once I move, I feel better. Without those boys, I would be watching TV as much as I could.

I walked 1.5 miles twice today. Not bad for me. The first time was to pick up my favorite soap. The second, was to give Steve an hour of peace. Paco walked with me and we went to Rite Aid for ice cream. Steve got worried. I think he just wished we had driven so we could bring him back some chocolate malted crunch.

Walking with those boys was the highlight of my day. Paco and I have not had a good chat like this in ages. And Lemon was quiet for once. But then, he was preoccupied with the ice cream cone. I loved telling Paco about Thrifty when I was a kid. How much was a triple? $0.35 cents. I used to get a mint chip and rainbow sherbet (yuck, but $0.25)). We could always get our dad to take us there. And even Babs had her weaknesses. My father’s birthday was yesterday, I listened to classical music most of the day. He would have been 74. Things are as they are meant to be, and I got to walk to ice cream with my son. The last six to seven years of his life, my dad could not walk. So pushing a stroller and holding Paco’s hand today just seemed…a true gift, a true miracle, and an activity to force me to appreciate where I am and what I have.

15 Minutes Inside my Crazy Head

Apologies for not posting. I have waited too late to be productive.

I got sucked into a movie and waited to do much. Steve came home a bit late, and the boys were just about to head to bed. So I started to veg before anything else. At 9:50 (the end of the movie) I got up to take a bath.

Inside my head: Flex, point, flex, point, flex, point, flex, flex flex! Should I shave my legs or no? Ugh, it has been so long. (Avastin is not helpful for nicks or cuts). But given the gorilla factor, yes.  Get out of water, put soap on mental list, I am so going to forget mental list. Get dressed, walk into bedroom to take Tarceva, need water, where is my water from last night? Oh, that is right, I dumped it and cleaned the bottle. (Walking into kitchen) ugh, dishes, there is no water in the cooler. Water? Where is my Tarceva I have to take? (Back into my room) Why was I here? Oh, Tarceva. Where is my water bottle? (Back to the kitchen) whew found bottle, Tarceva. Bleech. Need to set timer for when I can eat. How many days until I can eat cereal with really cold milk? That sounds so good.

Ahhh, The Beginning of the School Year…

And I can breathe. Yesterday was Paco’s 1st day of 1st grade. It was also a little parents reunion. My Roman friend came over after and our kids played while we had coffee and chatted. The beginnings of a normal year.

Last night I fell asleep about 9 and slept until the morning (ok there were 2 stops in the night, one me, one Lemon). I am not so controlled that I can make myself got to bed at 10. Oh, I wish…
I spent so much of the previous school year in a blur. The first days, the first months, Steve managed. I did not really step in until March/April. I slowly came to the surface. After a summer of juggling and comparing notes with other parents I feel at ease. Life is busy, but that is our modern culture. So this time last year I did not really even know Paco’s hours, but now I do. I am back to packing the lunches and snacks, taking him to school, checking his backpack, learning about his day.

Today, I was tired, but caught up on some paper work. OK, I did not actually catch up, but I worked a bit on loose ends. Lemon slept well. He was my buddy today, we went to the bike shop (needed locks) then Co-op (needed Wallaby yogurt). Lemon then took a good nap and there was peace and quiet for a time.

Kate arrived to give the boys dinner so I could meet Steve. We had not had a meal alone in months and months.

The date was short, but it was a meal without anyone pulling on my arm, nor complaining, nor asking about dessert. Ahhh a peaceful Viognier on a beautiful evening. A good life affirmation.

Drowsiness wins. Ahhh peaceful sleep awaits.

A Messy Life

I am tired. Due to the drugs, but there is a lot of clean up.

Happy Birthday Bdub

Brandon, Happy Birthday.

He has a tall head, so every year I give him hats for him to try. The 2 I had today he could not wear. I have 2 more to try.

I made a series of mistakes today. I knew cramming 2 birthdays into one day would be hard for our crew. Steve’s back is compromised and he does what he can (dishes!). But I do have to do most of the carrying of Lemon around in strange places where the furniture or he is breakable.

Shan’s boy Mateo turned 4 today. She had a party at the pool in her neighborhood. We were so late! It is 40 minutes away and I had to pack for 2 events, plus nausea and temdoar exhaustion, so it was a bit of a hurdle just to get in the car.

We had a good time, but did overdo it. The kids were exhausted and could not nap. Steve went first over to the lap pool, but his back was not well. He sent me over, chased after the kids and I swam for the 1st time in a year. I did laps for the first time in 3 years.

In the swim, there was a 50ish woman named Barbara. We were about the same pace. I only did about 800 yards, but I was ready to quit earlier when Barbara and I started chatting. We decided to force ourselves to do one last 50 and she chased me. Yes, we were slow, but we were back in the pool. She is a good lap swimmer at heart. As I, slow and steady. This was her 2nd time in, after 3 years out.

The overtired swimmers met up with the family at mom’s house in the afternoon. I owed Steve and Lemon was into me, so I held him and walked around with him quite a bit. Tonight, I was frustrated with how tired and icky I feel. My hip has been hurting from carrying Lemon around, my foot hurts, I have not been eating well.

Then Steve held me and reminded me, “You swam.” And I have a small smile with the icky stomach. I swam.

A Kind Gift From Steve

Just woke up about 9:30. Steve and the boys were gone. He usually tries to give me as much of a break as he can on day 5 or 6 of the cycle (and the Temodar exhaustion). I have never awoken to the breakfast dishes gone and the dishwasher running, and the children out on an adventure with their dad.

He just switched jobs. Due to my error in what I was tested for, I started late in the cycle. He does not have to work on my cycle day 5. So I woke up, saw there was no one here and took the last dose of Temodar for the cycle.

And instead of waking up feeling slow and cranky, I woke up feeling loved. I had emails from both our moms checking in and I had a kind email from a good friend yesterday.

GS (I am going to start using initials, I hate not saying their names, but then I don’t want to presume they want their life out there)  had been gone (in Argentina, (imagine the wistful smile on my face)) and caught up on the blog. He sent me this wonderful email about how inspiring he thinks I am. What I feel about my friends is they are modest (I need visits to the Apple store for to teach me modesty) and unaware of the power of their words. If I am inspiring to others, it is friends such as GS who build it within me. This morning I am reminding of how it felt before the surgery on July 7th, I felt as though a strong tornado of family and friends were carrying me in, and out.

After visiting with TJ, her plans for Egypt, I was envious. And lately I have been wanting to return to Bariloche, Argentina for the food. (The hotel Llao Llao has the most incredible breakfast I have ever had). But after waking up to peace, I realized how much the love and noise of the boys can do. The emails from these friends are powerful as well. I was thinking yesterday how I have not written so many notes to people, (to say “thank you” for this or that) for the last year plus. Then I realized I still have a letter sitting here waiting to go to my mom’s 2nd cousin in Ireland. I wrote it a year ago during radiation treatment. I keep finding it, then putting it aside to either update or find the correct overseas stamps.

Ireland is my poetic homeland. Paco has met his 4th cousins, remembers their back yard (sorry, “garden” my Irish/UK friends would say). He played Hurling (look it up) with a cousin close to his age. Their mother is close in age to me. And her mother is close to my mother at heart. They have written to each other for decades.

These cousins are part of the tornado that has carried me in spirit all this time. I keep finding envelopes addressed and not mailed to them. So when I feel better, it is not Bariloche that I want to see. I’ll take the cousin’s bread over the pastries of the Llao Llao Hotel, whether I am at the height or the low of life.

And here I have felt guilty for not sending either of my close Argentine friends gifts (2 new baby girls) and they check on me. They check on me. When I feel better, if I really get a break from all these meds, I am looking forward to doing small things for those who have done so much for us. (Just picking up kids and watching them, baking cookies, etc.) And then, I will save and go to Ireland. But that is more out of selfishness than anything else.

I keep saying that Lemon seems more like me, loud and aggressive and Paco like Steve (those eyes, man!). So if Paco’s first international trip was Buenos Aires, perhaps it is meant to be that Lemon’s is Ireland.

We finally applied for their passports on Thursday. Paco’s 2nd, Lemon’s 1st. Perhaps I simply dreaming of the first stamps. Our poetic homelands.

Temodar Headaches: Friendship is the Cure

(And family too.

The headaches put me in paranoia. I get them not often, but when I get them, now I freak out. A headache was the tell to send me to the ER=diagnosis for the GBM. It is ironic that the primary treatment (Temodar) causes additional headaches. I was fortunate today in that Bea answered . I asked Bea if she suffered the same: Oh Yea. Misery loves company and I have to say, Bea put me at ease. (We had hot flashes in unison while chatting)

The boys are hilarious. Yea yea, Temodar is challenging and I did whine this evening (Temodar+Avastin=achy world).

What stopped me from going down the path of blues were the coaches from Paco’s goalie camp. They are all Europeans (three Scottish, one English and one German) here on a similar student work visa to what enabled me to work in London in 1995. They made Paco feel so good about himself. He was the youngest kid (and the shortest, I am sure) of the goalie camp. The other kids his age were doing the regular camp, but Paco loves being the goalie, and the camp coaches agree with his passion.

Family time is good. Steve got home early and there were a lot of giggles as a result. I am on the 4th day of Temodar. Only one more dose tomorrow. Today was a decent day. Yea, headaches and foot pain, but really a good gastrointestinal day. I’ll take that!

Bea, thanks again. We planned our food future. Bea is making a list of where we will go. She is 2 months behind me on the schedule, but I imagine, at the end of the year, there will be spicy food involved.

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