Saturday, November 21, 2015

November 19, 2015

Wow. Thursday was amazing.

I am so thankful. And so fortunate. 

I am very loved. 

By a LOT of people! I mean--WOW! I am truly overwhelmed.

It was the type of day that will stand out for a long time. Like your wedding day. Or the days your children were born.

Unless you have like 15 kids, then you'd probably mix that shit up, right?

My day started at 5:05 am, when I heard and felt Randy get out of bed to go help Nathan. Fortunately Nathan got back to sleep, but was borderline-meltdown because his stomach was empty like a Sarlacc Pit when he got outta bed about 7, insistent that his brother play a round of Candy Land. Seriously, the kid could've eaten Boba Fett and still needed more food.

Isaac's got a lot going on, getting ready to leave the house by 7:25. But he stopped and played Candy Land, because that's the type of brother he is. And so did Randy, because that's the type of dad he is. There was just enough time before they left for school and work. Abby played too. But it's hard for her because she doesn't have opposable thumbs. Isaac won. No meltdown occurred. Gratitude. 

Nathan and I played Connect 4. Fine motor skills. Planning. Strategy. He's working on these pieces. Monopoly Jr. was next. Counting the number of correct spaces. Counting money. Adding. Subtracting. Basic reading. He's getting it. But lots of colors on both games can cause stress for him. We had a strong snack before leaving the house. Always have a strong snack before you go workout with Mrs. Ventura. Always.

We walked into the dojo for Hapkido, and when I opened the door, Meghan, Vanessa, and Emily greeted me with gusto! YES! Thank you ladies! As I was helping Nathan into his dobok, I breathed with you--and needed it. Gratitude.

I got to spend about 40 minutes talking to my Mom-in-law, Uncle Jerry & Granny. On the actual phone. Because, really, the only time I use the talkie part on my phone is for medical appointments. Right? It was fantastic to talk with them. I drove out to Ediz Hook and watched the waves roll in on the north side of the spit. It was grey in Port Angeles, and the sun was shining on Victoria, BC and it was beautiful. I stayed in my truck, where it was warm, just talking with them. Sometimes, you just gotta hear your Momma's voice, you know...?

I picked N up from Hapkido, where he lead the class in stretches for the first time! So proud of him! Thank you Mrs. V for the picture! This is what autism can look like. This helps me feel like we're all doing something right for Nathan; creating a supportive community for him.

We ran several errands after class. A year ago, I would even think about taking Nathan to one store, let alone 3, AFTER all the action at Hapkido, and AFTER playing board games. He impressed me. I knew I was pushing my luck though, and we headed home. He was starving again, and I didn't have any food that he was willing to eat.
He was starving and needed me to help him not have a meltdown. I parked him on the couch, with both of his weighted blankets--totaling about 25 lbs--and gave him the TV and Roku remotes. He watched mellow shows, as agreed upon--he was still pretty reasonable--but was super on edge. He expended an incredible amount of energy; I could feel him teetering on the edge of a very dark and very deep precipice. I knew he could go into meltdown mode if I didn't hurry and make something substantial for lunch. He ate a full plate of fried chicken nachos with avocado (not my tastebuds) and was pretty darn happy after that.

When Randy and Isaac came home, I was amazed when I's handed me a stack of cards--he told his teacher and classmates that it was my birthday AND last day of radiation. Mrs. L took time out of her day and her lesson plans and rolled with my kid and his excitement and they made cards for me! So honored. So thankful. Plain white printer paper folded in half make the best cards ever. The kids drew super heroes and lasers, hearts and flowers and rainbows. And the kid spelling--telling me I'm a sooper heero! Love it! Gratitude for Mrs. L and for the kids that are helping Isaac during our family Cancer Adventure. 

I left for my last radiation treatment, carrying a dozen cupcakes that Nathan and I made Wednesday. It was a homeschool project for us--reading the instructions that Betty Crocker kindly provided on the box. Measuring = math. Pouring = fine motor skills. Using the electric hand mixer AND moving the bowl around = using both sides of his brain simultaneously. Baking = chemistry. Using the oven properly = kitchen safety. He'll get there. He's not the Pokey Little Puppy. He's Leo the Late Bloomer. And it's ok.

I walked in the two sets of the sliding glass double doors and was totally surprised by what greeted me--a bouquet of balloons, a cupcake, and 2 cards! So thankful to Jen and Caitlin for stopping at the Cancer Center and dropping gifts for me. So thankful for Robin and Tess at the front desk and the birthday card. They were all thrilled with the cupcakes--because they have the type of job where people are not happy, and people are dealing with terminal illness, and energy levels can be quickly affected. I'm not sure they are thanked enough. So the cupcakes were my way of saying thank you for helping me. Rob, my favorite radiation tech, insisted on taking my picture. He said that in 20 years, I'll want to remember this point in time and that I needed a picture of me. I'm glad he insisted; I'm glad I listened. 

I stopped by to see Lynn the Radiation Oncology Nurse who also happens to be a Rock Star. I gave her a cupcake and gave her a hug. I thanked her for her dedication to her patients, and to me. We both got teary and promised to keep in touch.

I stopped by to see Florence--she was my Other Mother through My Cancer Adventure. My own mother was unable to come up; I get it...a flight from Tucson to Seattle, then a drive to Port Angeles is a big deal...and my folks are getting older. But Florence went to most of my chemo infusions with me, and brought fancy chocolate for after treatment was done. Twist my arm to eat chocolate! And, at her house on Thursday, she gave me some fancy chocolate, and a beautiful orchid in a vase. She's been a gardener for 40+ years and disclosed she's killed many orchids. I promised I would do my best to keep it alive. Typically I have a black thumb of death.

A quick drive back to Port Angeles because I also got to go to acupuncture; this has been an important piece of my cancer care. Pat has been fantastically supportive and explained every thing she did when she was inserting needles. For the most part, I don't feel the needles when they go in. Sometimes I do, but it's like a pinch and then it's gone. Ain't no big thing. Then I rested for 40 minutes--it was much needed. I did't go last week to acupuncture because Pat was sick; as a health care provider, she doesn't want to expose others--and for that I am so thankful. But last week was rough; and I'm thankful it's over.

And then I brought home Chinese food and used a gift certificate we were given--thank you whoever gave that to us back in the summer. I appreciate the birthday dinner! The leftovers fed us grown-ups again Friday night. Nathan had fried chicken nachos; I's ate pasta. I'm a short order cook a lot. But it's important for the Routine. Whatever, just eat, bitches. 

I also spoke with my folks Thursday night. I worry about them more than they know. Mostly I worry about Mom (mostly....) And while it was good to hear their voices, I know that I'm going to have to talk with my Dad at some point. Although I've not seen my folks in over 8 years, I can tell my Mom is starting to show signs of slipping. My Dad is planning to retire in about 6 months when he turns 65. He's been talking about retiring for the past three years, so we'll see what happens in May. He's probably already aware of Mom's mental health status; but we still gotta talk. It's not going to be easy; and I'll do it when I'm ready, when I'm feeling stronger. I'm the oldest; I'm the Health Educator and it's a major health issue; I discuss this topic with my students, and so it falls to me

I texted with my brother yesterday, too. I am thankful for him. He sent a card and a Wonder Woman magnet and told me about the gift certificate at Michael's. Randy and I are going there on tonight for dinner. We need a break and an evening out.

After Chinese food, Rand and the boys sang "Happy Birthday" and I blew out the candle on my cupcake. We each had 1/2 a cupcake, because nobody needs that much sugar before bed. Even though we ate late, the boys were still in bed asleep at their normal time: 7:30 pm. 

It's hard to pick a favorite thing about Thursday November 19, 2015, the day I turned 43 and am considered young according to my oncology team. The sun was out most of the day--that was a huge bonus! But a favorite--I'm not sure I have one. I'm quite pleased with myself in that I averted TWO meltdowns with Nathan. But really, I am thankful for the entire day: for the love and support of my husband and my children; for my friends who I've chosen to be my family; and for walking out of the Cancer Center as a Breast Cancer Survivor.   

1 comment:

  1. This is powerful, from start to finish, but your last sentence gave me goosebumps. Congrats Sooper heero! :)