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I don’t cry.

I mean I cry all the time at commercials and viral videos and meaningless stuff like that. But the big, real stuff doesn’t usually make me cry. Last week, I met with my oncologist to discuss beginning chemo. There was blood work, a somewhat nauseating talk with the chemo pharmacist about the side effects, and MRI scans set up for today. None of that, including talking about losing my hair (or my lunch on a regular basis) made me cry.

But this morning, I am crying.

My kids, Claudia especially, are having a hard time lately. At nine, she is grappling with what it might be like to lose a parent (not that I plan to be lost). She lies in bed suddenly feeling that she is “really here” and imagining what death will feel like. She is teary all the time and wants to fall asleep next to us like she did as a toddler.

So we talk. A lot.

We talk about fears and medicine and statistics and death. We talk about all the people who love her and our plans for the summer. We run fast trying to fill our time with cones on “free ice cream day” and family movie nights in hopes that the good things will crowd out the bad stuff. We make calls to teachers and therapists and we hug. We hug a lot.

And then, after they’ve all gone to school for the day, I sit on the couch, bring up some internet video, and cry for a minute because I can’t fix this for them and because later, when I’m in the MRI, and tomorrow, when I head to oncology, I will be brave. I will push through. And I will not cry.

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While you were sleeping

So much is a fog of pain and then pain killers and then pain again and on it went. I can remember little of the hospitals and the ambulance transfer, which is strange to say the least.

My favorite story that has made its way back to me is this: the amount of pain medicine needed to control the pain of the tumors impinging on the nerves of my spine was also enough to slow my breathing. While in the hospital with my friend, Megan, from time to time the pulse oximeter would beep to let them know that the oxygen saturation of my blood was too low and I needed to breathe more deeply. Apparently, every time it would ring out I would grumble, “I’m breathing!” Sweet Megan would brush my hair back and say kindly, “I know, honey, but I need you to take some deep breaths now.” To which I would reply angrily, “I think I know how to breathe!”

Nice to know that one of the first things to go is my manners. Well, you know, and breathing.

In better sleeping news, this adorable sleepover happened while I was out!

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More than I can take

It’s almost 1am and I can’t sleep; the pain is excruciating. The only relief I’ve been able to get was from an amount of Percocet so high it made me unable to function from exhaustion and nausea.

Claudia sobbed for an hour today when I told her I couldn’t drive her to Ft. Dodge for camp so I’m determined to make it through the night without the Percocet so I’m clearheaded for the drive in the morning. And the oncologist has scheduled an MRI for Monday in Madison which seems both a million years and miles away.

Right now, I could swing being a patient or a mom, but trying to do both is killing me.

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More excitement that I can handle

Two days ago I threw my back out playing Just Dance at a Fourth of July get together because that’s how I roll. The last two days have been painful, but it had been getting better… until tonight.

Moments ago I raised my arm just to waist height while trying to put away leftovers after dinner and was knocked to the floor in tremendous pain. Unable to stand up or even sit, I hunched on all fours on the floor and put the Lamaze breathing I never got to use in my three C-sections to work. Claudia came rushing in and stated, “At safety camp they told us if our mom or dad was on the floor couldn’t get up we should call 911,” which, for some reason, made me laugh, which made the pain shooting through my spine worse.

The moral of the story? I need to find more exciting ways to explain my Gollum-like posture. This throwing-my-back-out-while-sneezing crap is getting old. Who’s up for skydiving? Or toddling with the bulls?

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Independence Day

Fourth of July parade!
6303238_origYou haven’t seen the Fourth of July until you’ve seen a small town do the Fourth! The parade was over an hour long, the kids got pounds of candy, and you know everyone lined up for miles!

8635636_origThe kids and I love Eric very much but even we can’t look at his name on this float. Turn away, Claudia!

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