Saturday, December 28, 2013

Arctic Blast

It's so freaking cold here! But lots of fun. Sledding, live music, good friends...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Preparing for the freeze

The kiddo is very excited about our upcoming trip to Minneapolis. He thinks the snow suits are great for playing ninja, which they are. Hopefully they'll also be great for keeping us alive in 0 degree weather.

Christmas was a blast. With just the tree of us around, we were able to create some new traditions, like dim sum and a movie.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and that you continue to enjoy your winter breaks and such. Let's make this next week the best last week of 2013 ever!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Auto Awesome Indeed

It may not be awesome to go 6 days without blogging (for no good reason), but these gifs are pretty dang awesome! Clearly, I've been far too busy having fun with no time in the world to write a post about how much fun I'm having. WRITE a post? Oh, please. That's so 8 months ago. I'll let Google + SHOW you how much fun I've been having, not blogging. Exclamation mark!

Look at THIS love connection! Siempre Verde with Turkey Sandwich

Fancy dinner at The Van's

Hola! My salad has a cherry on top!

Leopard Class, kicking some vinyl ass.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Brain Bling

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

Kempo Master

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

Nothing much

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

Feeling OK

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

One more rumination over my status in life

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

Sitting at UCSF

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

Last MRI of 2013

My neuro oncologist is starting to sound like a broken record. "Your scan looks great. No change or tumor regrowth. We expect you to live a long life. See you in four months."

You may now commence with the appropriate post-MRI celebrations. It takes me a while to shake off the pre-MRI anxiety, and it takes me even longer to figure out how to be happy about those words. "We expect you to live a long life." A long life is good, but a long life of regularly scheduled anxiety and unexpected bouts of depression is hard to take sometimes. And it turns out that I am totally one to look a gift horse right in the mouth. This gift I've been given, this gift of not succumbing to the brain cancer, of not dying in the 18-24 months that is statistically more likely than living even the four years that I have since my diagnosis, this gift is sometimes a horse with very bad teeth, one that needs a Costco size tube of Crest toothpaste and a dentist with a magic wand in the form of a giant, never-ending bottle of Ativan.

It's not that I'm not thankful for what I have. I really, truly am. Sometimes, it is so hard to see past the glaring absence of the parts of my life that will always be missing--things like piece of mind and normalcy. Yes, I get to keep my life and I get to keep on living it, but it's broken. I'm broken. And I don't know how to fix myself right now.

I wish I could celebrate with you today. I wish I could simply say to myself, well that was nice. Everything is exactly how it should be. But I feel scattered and lost and afraid and confused today, and all of those things put together add up to angry and sad. 

Monday, December 02, 2013

Still here, silently judging

Don't mistake my silence this past week for a lack of blog fodder. I have plenty to say, I'm just trying extremely hard to push out the jive and bring in the love. It's tough these days, my heart is so dang full of jive. I'm not going to get into it, but here's a top five list of the few things saving me from giving into my rage and anger right now.

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."