It's so freaking cold here! But lots of fun. Sledding, live music, good friends...
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
I went to the dentist last week for my bi-annual check up. In between lectures about flossing and crown replacement, they took some xrays. One was a panoramic, camera-circles-your-head-for-30-seconds kind of xray, nothing out of the ordinary. Until...later on, the dentist was going over the xray with me, pointing out the fractured post of an old root canal (yikes), and she asked what was up with the "flowery tattoo thing" on the scan up above my sinuses. Check it out (and don't judge me for having so many fillings. I like candy.)! It must be some kind of something that was put there to hold my skull in place after my craniotomy! Unless of course it's some sort of government tracking device so the CIA can read my thoughts. And why wouldn't they? I have some pretty amazing thoughts. They mostly go like this: "mmmmmmmm salty caramel." Either way, it was a surprise to me, to say the least--that whole craniotomy period of time is a bit fuzzy--and I can't stop looking at it. It's hypnotic, but in a good way. It's sort of calming and mantra-y.
Monday, December 16, 2013
He's not waxing on or painting a fence yet, but he has memorized some crazy amount of positions and combinations and will be eligable to test for a yellow belt in February.
Did you hear my jaw hit the ground just then?
Kid's got skills, that does not surprise me. It's the thought of him being able to focus and pay attention long enough--TO ANYTHING--that blows me away. Our three month experiment seems to have proven successful, as far as I'm concerned. On to more classes! Hooray fir kempo!
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I am pooped. I'm exhausted and emotionally running on fumes. I need to think of a good way to refresh myself, other than sleep--which, of course, is what I crave. Sleep and chocolate.
How about you? How do you hit the reset button on your soul? What is your emotional equivalent to a breath of fresh air? Please don't say exercise or vegetables.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
I'm starting to feel better than I have in a few weeks. The dust is settling. I can breathe a bit better, and I'm starting to think about ways to fix things in my life that feel like they aren't functioning properly. Trying to, anyways. I've gotten hooked on a TV show on Netflix called Scandal, and the main character is a fixer, a professional problem solver (but I like her better in this). The other day on the way to work, I thought about a problem I was having--a long distance friendship that had been suffering from neglect--and instead of feeling complainy and sorry for myself, I fixed it. I sent my friend an email to sort of let them know I was still there and making sure they were, too. Maybe not fixed completely, but definitely a step in the right direction.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is things are looking up. Today.
Saturday, December 07, 2013
I've got to say, I really appreciate everyone's support over the last few days. My posts have been more raw than usual, and I've shared a side of the pain and fear that I feel, a part of my life that I'm usually trying to camouflage. Snark and perceived fearlessness will only get you so far; sometimes, you just need to cry and scream and hit things and write mean and ugly words on a blog for everyone to read. And honestly, the candid nature of these last few posts has felt REALLY REALLY GOOD.
Of course, I wouldn't be me without also feeling guilty. Here, I'll use a list to count some of the wonderful and factual things that I have in my life that so many other people do not have, therefore causing me to feel guilty about having any complaints at all.
Some of the Wonderful and Factual Things That I Have in My Life that So Many Other People Do Not Have
1. Two healthy, living, nearby parents.
2. A healthy and committed marriage.
3. A healthy and perfect six year old son.
4. Full and complete use of my arms, legs, mouth, and brain-- a variety of things that most GBM survivors I know do not have.
5. A great job that I love and look forward to every day.
6. A warm home and plentiful pets.
I worry that the kind of person who can have this list and still complain about anything in their life is fundamentally broken, and, frankly, reprehensible. I know it's who I am; it's part of my personality and character to feel bad about feeling bad, but I do get nervous that I'll never inherently allow myself to enjoy the bounty that is my life, and that I'm doomed to always gravitate back to the cancer, every four months, as the primary definition of who I've become, in spite of the list of wonders above.
Now, I promise to do my best to return to our regular programing--although it's immeasurably comforting to know I can be as honest I might need to occasionally be here.
Friday, December 06, 2013
After every MRI, I meet with two sets of Neuro-oncologists, one at Stanford where I receive my standard ontological care and one at UCSF where I participated in a few trials during my treatment. Today I am at UCSF, finishing up my week of cancer check-ins. Hopefully, this will serve as some sort of mental closure to this particularly gruesome (emotionally speaking) MRI cycle. You win some, you loose some, and while I've physiologically won the grand bonus prize with another clean MRI, my emotional score this quarter was far below par and not what many of expect of me.
I appreciate the kind and thoughtful comments, the hugs from those I see and the stress relieving help that I get from my family. I have a caring and compassionate husband who tries his hardest, and an abundance of positive energy running toward me in the form of a six year old boy. I have all of this, and then some. And sometimes, it's just not enough. Sometimes, in spite if all the goodness that surrounds me, I feel encased in sadness, loss and gloom.
Please don't be afraid for me. Don't worry or feel that you need to be on eggshells around me. The way I feel right now is a natural part of a life-long grieving process that I have come to accept as a part of my life. The MRIs, the anxiety and emotional response serve as a reminder of how my life has changed. Forever. And there's absolutely nothing that I can do about it. I am thankful for my health and continued stability, but I am simultaneously enraged that something like brain cancer came along and changed my life irrevocably, without any sort or warning or negotiation or compensation. I'm not blind, I'm not stupid--I know I am doing incredibly well, much, much better than most people with Glioblastoma Multiforme IV. And I am grateful for that truth. But I am perfectly within my rights to feel robbed of the full, plump, shining life of NORMALCY that I had until September 2009.
So don't freak out when I write posts like this. It's part of my process and it will help me in the long run.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Monday, December 02, 2013
Top Five List of Things Saving Me From Giving In To My Rage and Anger Right Now
1. Selective over-played hit songs on the radio.
2. The zero percent existence of dog pee on my carpet. More on that later.
3. My six year old son in a blazer and tie. Every chance he gets.
4. Waiting for results that will come on Wednesday from my Sunday morning MRI.
5. Before bedtime, the kiddo suggested we "initiate cuddle sequence."
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
Monday, November 25, 2013
It's one thing to know WHEN, it's another thing to know HOW. Letting go--of anger, a grudge, regret, whatever--is a skill I do not have. I've never had it, and I doubt that I ever will. There are many things in my life that I have every right to be angry about, or to be sad about, or to hold a grudge against, and I perform that job expertly. Now if someone could just send me the Cliff Notes on letting go and doing the right thing even when you really really really don't want to...that would be very helpful.
Some say that mindfulness meditation will teach me how to let go of all of the shit that's gunking up my emotional pipes. Other say a cleanse of the body works as a cleanse of the soul. There are those that would suggest that I drown my anger and sadness in liquor. They are probably all partially right.
I know that right now is one of those time where I need to lay my cards face down on the table, stand up, and haul ass out of there. Guess I better go put my running shoes on.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
Me: "Why don't you use that guy? He looks like he could stop a zombie invasion."
Him: "Seriously Mommy? You hafta put the freeze pods down first. The zombies will just eat those."
Me: "Put more sunflowers. They have smiley faces."
Him: (eyes rolling) "Jeeze Mommy, I already have five of those and that's more than enough. I need more shooters."
Him: "Are you even going to play?"
Him: "Isn't this the coolest game ever?"
Now I know how my mom felt when I would get so pissed at her if she got the name of my My Little Pony wrong. "No, THAT is Starburst! THIS is Moonstone! Seriously!"
Thursday, November 21, 2013
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
But it wasn't me.
|Oh, the agony!|
|The face of sad.|
Monday, November 18, 2013
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Sunday, November 10, 2013
Thursday, November 07, 2013
Wednesday, November 06, 2013
Happy one thousandth blog post to me--and big ups to those of you who have supported me on this journey. It's been beyond therapeutic for me, and I gather that it's been somewhat pleasant at times for you alls as well. May it continue to be as such for many more years...until computers become obsolete and we all have special chips implanted in our brains and there's no need for blogging because we can all read each other's minds...hrrrrrmmmmmm.
Tuesday, November 05, 2013
Says the kiddo: "You know mommy, let me tell you something about Legos. They're making the instructions a bit harder these days."
His awesome friends got him a ton of Lego sets for his birthday, and he's been systematically starting (and in some cases, finishing) each set. ON. HIS. OWN. I'm proud, duh, but really excited because it means I have to spend way less time on the floor which I am far too old to be doing comfortably. But, I get to spend just enough time examining his progress to see awesome displays of Legotry.
Even angrier Wolverine:
Monday, November 04, 2013
Man, throwing a birthday party for a six year old is almost as exhausting as giving birth to the kid himself all those many (many many many) years ago. Every year we do it, and every year we turn to each other and say "NEVER. AGAIN." And then we see our happy kid, his happy friends, everyone covered in chocolate and various remnents of fun...
See you next year!
Saturday, November 02, 2013
Friday, November 01, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
We turned this...
...and then that into these...
And when they cool, they will be topped with this:
It was a great tie-in to the color-themed unit he's being doing at school recently. They even did a performance of Roy G. Biv at an assembly last week! Kid at school + They Might Be Giants = Happy Mommy.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
That's my boy.
Monday, October 28, 2013
3. too tired for this crap.
4. wasting my time blogging when I should be filling rocket ship-themed goodie bags.
5. astonished that this tiny little 6 pound, 14 ounce, Halloween-candy-induced explosion is about to turn 6 years old.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
And I had totally forgotten about the Great Server Crash of 2006 when I lost a great many of my pictures and such. Not to mention 9 + years of out-of-date links. It's hard to celebrate the longevity and meaningfulness of the blog when things are in such a state of disarray.
Don't worry--I'll be in a much better mood tomorrow night. 1,000 posts! Hooray!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Monday, October 21, 2013
The time period in question--as if it's not fucking obvious--are those three years or so between late 2009 when I was I diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and late 2012 when I finally realized that, huh, I was still alive. These photos would make it seem that the only face I could really show myself was one that was above the fear, immune from the anger, not drown by sadness. No deer in the headlights here, only a survivor that laughs in the face of danger, ha! I know me, and perhaps I do laugh in the face of danger, but not until I've cried, yelled, panicked, and cried some more in, at and around the face of danger.
|No tumor can penetrate my snark.|
|Or maybe I was just mad about this stupid haircut?|
Sunday, October 20, 2013
When we lived in Oregon, it was nothing but rivers and lakes and any number of swim days for Ozzy and Nanna. Moving back here after college changed our water dog ways for good. For years, I had to either drive miles and miles away to find fresh water to swim in--which was painful, considering we lived right next to the San Francisco Bay, but the bay water is just too yucky to deal with--or we could hit the coast and dip in the Pacific. The ocean is fine and good, but also really heavy on the off-leash tickets.
When I first found Waterdog Lake, it served as an awesome place to hike, even with Samson's stroller. But the lake part was super gross and unkempt, very smelly and swampy. Now, years later, it's re-done by local volunteers, and chock full of happy, wet, tired dogs: labs, retrievers, and mutts galore, the way nature intended.
And then there are Turkey Sandwich and Little Fizz, running up and down along the shore, barking and whining and refusing the great gift of aquatic freedom. Stupid dogs.
|Swimming with Ozzy at Lake Shasta in 2011. Even at the ripe old age of 13 (that's 72 in dog years) he loved jumping from the houseboat into the lake with me. GOOD DOG.|
Thursday, October 17, 2013
But there were too many drinks!
Alas, I cannot.
Some Bulleit rye, then some wine.
No, tonight is only sleep.
Barely 8 pm.
Lesson learned tonight?
Blog first, then time to imbibe.
Five more syllables.
More important though:
Such good times with my neighbor.
She's also my friend!
One more thought tonight:
I am happy for it all.
Every part of it.
Another thing though:
Did I mention yay?
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Funny thing is that nobody but me seems to care. I know she's not Original Nanna, but she's the longest running Nanna we've had so far. She's been the most permanent fixture in my life as a parent (other than the child, ahem). It's hard to experience the emotional highs and lows associated with losing, then finding, then losing a treasured object that represents a bushel of treasured memories. The tactile characteristics of Old Nanna are so different from that of New Nanna, it's hard for me to think of them as the "same."
|Milford, NY August 2010|
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Monday, October 14, 2013
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Also, check out this awesome link that my mom--YES MY MOM--shared on Facebook earlier this week. Can't choose a favorite, but it's probably the lighters. They're saying "Yay! Wheeee!"
Wednesday, October 09, 2013
And when I need a dose of reality I can go to the front of the shop and usually NPR is on the radio there.
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Great times in history with Old Nanna: Israel, June 2010
Monday, October 07, 2013
OK, it's not the first time we've lost her. If I'm going to be completely honest, she's not even the original Nanna. She was actually Nanna 2, or maybe even Nanna 3...I've lost count. The important thing is that she is a giraffe lovey, and the kiddo is fast asleep with her current incarnation--and fully aware of the reality of the situation. He happened upon my hidden stash of Nannas a few months ago, and has had no problem moving right along to the replacement lovely. Can't say I blame him, she is MUCH cleaner and MUCH less full of crud and holes than her predecessor. In fact, she's the spitting image of her great, great (great?) grandmother, Original Nanna:
Sunday, October 06, 2013
Thursday, October 03, 2013
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Monday, September 30, 2013
Sunday, September 29, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
This fabric was thick and coarse, and immediately made me think of my great-aunt and uncle on my father's side. It looked exactly like something I would expect to find in Aunt Rutho and Uncle Dewitt's apartment. Heavy, old, with some sort of back story, and the distinctly aged fragrance of and old person--not mothballs or good bond, but not perfume or food either. Just...age.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Now, let's see how long it takes until I can get him to paint the house or wax my car.