Sunday, May 22, 2016

I know

I know you're scared.

I've been there.

Not exactly. But pretty darn close.

I know the fear in your gut.

In your heart.

It's hearing from your doctor: "You have cancer."

You knew that he was going to say it before you got to his office. You just didn't know specifics. 

The good news: you're not shocked.

The bad news: where do I start?

The unknown is always the biggest fear. 


Big time.

Not hip replacement.

But it's a big deal because, where the incisions will be, it's an incredibly sensitive part of your body.

Your mouth. 

Your neck. 

And you're scared. 

Of the pain. 

Of the staging. 

And the lymph nodes. 

It's horrifying to think about. 

I know. 

I know that it feels like a bad dream from which you cannot wake up. 

I know that our family has been hit harder than most families. 

I know you don't want to go through it again. Put the boys through it again. Put me through it, albeit from a different perspective this time. 

I love you. 

I know that no matter how many times I put on a brave face and a smile for you, I was scared. 

But I never truly felt like I was going to die. 

I know I was confident. And that you are too. 

I know that the boys will make you crazy.

But they'll also keep you moving forward.

I know you'll have no appetite. That you'll force yourself to eat. 

I still have to sit down and make myself eat. Because sometimes I just don't feel like eating.   

I know that how I dealt with my cancer, I set the bar high. I was, and am, thankful for so much. That it was caught early. That we have such incredible support from our friends who have become our family. 

Thankful for our health insurance. 

Thankful I survived. 

I know what kept me moving forward was doing what was healthy and right for me. 

I slept. 

A lot. 

Sometimes for several days in a row. Because that's how my chemo affected me. 

Pretty much every week, you took me and the boys and went to the lake...or the ocean. The water was therapeutic for me. 

I was willing to ask for and accept help. Those are not easy things for me to do. 

I took time to see beauty in everyday. Even the days I had absolutely no energy, and all I could do was lay in bed, sip water, take my anti-nausea meds, and get up to go pee...the beauty was Nathan reading to me...hearing Isaac laugh...or just having the sun shining brightly through the window. 

I gave myself something big to look forward to each month. Book club (duh!). Sam coming up to visit. 

And aside from kicking your cancer in the ass, I know that what I want for you: 

I know you need to do whatever it is to feel healthy. 




To keep moving forward. 

I have confidence in you. 

You are a tenacious man. It was one of the first things I saw in you, over twenty years ago, when you walked in to the classroom to teach at NAU. 

I have faith that what we are going through is teaching our sons that we are strong, not only as individuals but as a couple. 

We're also teaching them that they are loved. They are supported. And they are cherished. 

All my love always, 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Not Again

Not again.


I have had enough.

My husband and my children have had enough.

My mother-in-law has had more than her fair share.


Stop the ride, I wanna get off.

Randy has cancer in his tonsil, and it's not related to his voice.

He has two--TWO--otolaryngologists at Swedish hospital. And they each specialize in different areas of the throat.

Seriously. I had no idea that this was even a thing. Either cancer of the tonsil OR specializing in different areas of the throat.

And clearly both of these Fantastic Physicians are on The Spectrum. Because when you're dealing with something that's THIS freaking're on the higher functioning end of The Spectrum. I kinda can't help it...I have Spectrum Shades. They totally skew my world view and cause me to see autism in everything.

Both of the Fantastic Physicians have impeccable bedside manners. Seriously. They are awesome. They are a team.

The first one is the Lady ENT, who Randy's been seeing every couple of months since November. She is a voice specialist, and is dealing with the vocal cords. He originally saw her the Monday before Thanksgiving, which was the Monday after I finished radiation treatment for breast cancer. I was able to participate in the meeting via FaceTime. Thankful for the technology and the fact that the Lady ENT didn't bat an eye at the way I was able to participate.

So, when Randy saw her in November, she numbed his throat, and stuck a camera up through his nose and down into his throat. The Lady ENT educated us about the fact that Randy's talking with his false vocal cords; something we didn't even know about until he got to Swedish (don't get me started about how the ENT in Poulsbo failed him). 

She also found that there were nodes on Randy's vocal cords. I asked her directly if she thought they were cancer, and she said, while she can't determine that with 100% certainty without taking them off and sending them to pathology, she did not think they were cancerous. 

I trust her. I believe she was correct. Also, that's not where the cancer is. The cancer is in his tonsil. Vocal cords = front of the throat. Tonsils = back of the throat.

The Lady ENT also directed Randy to see a Speech Therapist, which he was able to do in Port Angeles. And, as nice as the Speech Therapist is, and as much as he wanted to help, the bottom line is he is out of his league with Randy and his voice issues. It's not the Speech Therapist's fault; he primarily sees kids who need help enunciating words; not middle-aged men who are loosing their voices.

Randy goes to a massage therapist, who is amazing. She helps with the stress relief, and it feels good for him. The Lady ENT supports this. We learned that Randy does indeed carry his stress in his back, shoulders, and neck.

He also has exercises...stretches...that he's been directed to do to help release the muscle tension in his back, shoulders, and neck, and he does these daily...or maybe twice a day. I'm not really sure because it's not my job to do his exercises for him.

The bottom line is that Randy's tried three different treatment modalities and his voice hasn't improved. So...

He went back to the Lady ENT in February, just a check up. She scoped him and saw that the nodes looked the same. We talked about surgery and removing the nodes...but until Randy learns how to use his regular vocal cords, not the false vocal cords...removing the nodes is pretty pointless because they will likely grow again. They are like scar tissue.

And if she were to do surgery, he would not be able to talk for 10 days. So, because Randy uses his voice--as most college professors do--we decided that if surgery happens, we'll shoot for summer, when we have less on our plates, I can get the boys out of the house for extended periods, he can have the quite time and recover. 

But there's been a shift...

On March 11, Randy's 48th birthday, he was in his truck and he yawned, he happened to look in his rear view mirror at the same time, you know, like you do...and noticed a white spot on the back of his throat. It didn't hurt. We kept moving forward, knowing it was there, keeping an eye on it. 

While I was in Tucson at the end of March, Randy took Nathan to our family doc for a follow up from N's appointment with his neurologist (because we ALWAYS follow up with our primary doc when we see a specialist--it's just what we do). And the doc asked Randy what's going on with his voice...and Randy filled him in...and our doc had Rand open his mouth...and he said, basically, tell your ENT. 

And in the parking lot at the dojo, Randy bumped into our dentist, because his younger son, who is the same age as Isaac, also practices Hapkido and we live in a small town and our dentist and his wife are friends of ours...and our dentist asked how Randy's voice is...and Randy told him about the spot...and the sun was out which let our dentist easily take a look...and he said, basically, tell your ENT. 

So Randy told the Lady ENT when he saw her April 23rd, which was his next scheduled appointment. But it's not like she wasn't gonna notice it. And she ordered a CT with contrast. And our local hospital said, "you're ok, don't worry!" Wait. What? Well, um...ok.....

But when the Lady ENT saw the results, she put Randy up a level. Because she's seen this before. And she knows what to do. Thankful for her. So so so thankful for her.

So the next level...he's now with the Man ENT. Who specializes in cancer of the head and neck. 

Not again. 


Not cancer again. 



We need a break. 

And so Randy and I went to the city on Thursday May 5th. And the boys stayed home. By themselves. Abby is a good dog. She's responsible. KIDDING! The Momma A-Team picked up the pieces of our life...and we didn't worry about the boys. 

And the Man ENT said, basically, "we need to biopsy this to know for sure...but it looks like cancer...because if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck...and you need a PET scan and we'll just call it cancer so that you don't have to wait on insurance...see you after your PET scan next week...yes, we'll have the results of the PET scan."

So the four of us went. Because we're a team. And we dropped Randy off at Swedish. Because for all of us to go in and then for three of us to go out would've been too much for Nathan. Too many transitions are hard in Autism Land. But really, it would've been too much for all of us. 

And I took the boys and we played hard. We went to the park at Seattle Center. We went to the Pacific Science Center. We learned that mole rats are immune to cancer and are used in research to find cures for cancer. We were together. We laughed. We talked. We don't want to do cancer again. But I told them, basically, "you guys got me through my cancer, and we'll get your dad through his cancer."

Little boys shouldn't have to deal with such heavy medical issues. Fuck you cancer. Fuck. You.

But in my heart, I was terrified. I was scared that the PET scan would show that Randy's body was littered with tumors that were untreatable. That no amount of chemo or radiation or medical marijuana oil was going to help save him and preserve our life together. I was terrified that this fucking disease was going to rip a loving, involved, patient father from two children.

We went back to Swedish hospital, where we met Randy at the Man ENT's office and the boys played with their iPods while we went in to meet with the doc and we were told that Randy has cancer of the tonsil caused by the Human Papillomavirus, or HPV. 

The PET scan showed that Randy's cancer is only in his tonsil and only a couple of lymph nodes are involved. There's a spot on the upper lobe of his right lung, which is the same side as the cancer in his tonsil and lymph nodes. The spot on the upper lobe didn't "light up" from the contrast Randy had to drink when he had the PET scan. The doc is going to watch it...he'll order a CT in 3-6 months.

But his cancer is caused by the same virus that causes genital warts. The same virus that causes cervical cancer. 

No, this has nothing to do with his vocal cords. 

Opposite sides of the throat.

Tonsils = back of the throat.

Vocal cords = front of the throat.

Yes I'm scared that I have cervical cancer. But I likely don't. Hopefully I don't. I'm not calling down the fates.

And, seriously, I had so much chemo shoved in me that I...don't even want to go there......

But I'm getting a Pap smear in June, which I scheduled before Randy was diagnosed, because you know you gotta make a doctor's appointment months in advance for a pelvic exam.

The Man ENT concluded that it is cancer caused by HPV because Randy doesn't smoke cigarettes and doesn't drink alcohol. And because the Man ENT has seen this type of case countless times. He's got a lot of experience with this type of thing, which is helpful, psychologically, for both Randy and I.

No. My husband didn't cheat on me. The thing about viruses, that shit can cook in your body for years. YEARS. 

You can get infected with HIV in your early 20's and not have symptoms until your in your mid 30's. No shit. 

So this HPV's something most of us carry. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"About 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV. About 14 million people become newly infected each year. HPV is so common that most sexually-active men and women will get at least one type of HPV at some point in their lives."



The Man ENT sees so much tonsilular cancer he's called it "an epidemic".

The thing is though, there's no test to find out if you're a carrier. There's a test of HIV, but not for HPV.

And I bet I'm a carrier.

I wonder if I transmitted the Human Papilloma Virus to my husband.....

I'll probably never know.

So I'm trying to not worry about.

Christ knows I've got a lot of other shit to worry about.

Anyway. There are over 150 strains of HPV and only two of them are known carcinogens. Strains 16 and 18.

How do you prevent the HPV infection? 



Because people don't have sex.


Stops babies from being made.

I'll stop before go off on more of a tangent....

You can use a condom consistently and correctly every time.

But, shit happens and you forget. Heat of the moment. Drunk. Stoned. Careless. College. High school. You're my age 19...17...15.... Yeah. And so fast forward 30 years and you're fighting tonsil cancer.

But, why do we put all the emphasis on cervical cancer? 

Because there's a world wide war on women happening.

It's not just in the US. 
But it's not the point of this blog post.

The point is, we don't put tonsil cancer as a risk because it's not sexy.

Tonsils don't sell.

But cervices sells.

And the cervix is in the vagina and vaginas are taboo to talk about so naturally when we talk about the vagina it's a little's a little's a little easier sell on the public than a fuggin TONSIL.

Can you see the ads?

"Prevent tonsil cancer. You too can protect your husband!""


"Prevent cervical cancer. You too can protect your wife!"

NO! Because vaginas are fun to talk about!

Throats, not so much....

And, let's face it, the media portrays women as the weaker gender...needing protection. Bullshit.  

Ok...back to the HPV.....

What else can you do to stop the spread of HPV?

You could vaccinate your kids!!!

Wait! What?! You can PREVENT the spread of HPV by giving your child a shot?

Yes. Yes you can.

Actually, there are a series of three shots, given about a month a part. 

According to my students, the shots hurt like a motherfucker. Well, that's my expression. They said the shots hurt A LOT. And we always make things out to be worse in our mind than they really are....

Who should get vaccinated?

According to the CDC (under the heading Who Should Get Vaccinated)....

All boys and girls ages 11 or 12 years should get vaccinated.

Catch-up vaccines are recommended for males through age 21 and for females through age 26, if they did not get vaccinated when they were younger.

The vaccine is also recommended for gay and bisexual men (or any man who has sex with a man) through age 26. It is also recommended for men and women with compromised immune systems (including people living with HIV/AIDS) through age 26, if they did not get fully vaccinated when they were younger.

Will I vaccinate my kids?

Lemme rephrase that question.

Do I anticipate that my kids will have sex?

Yes. Yes I do. 

I'd bet money on it.

I expect my kids to have sex.

Not today.

Not tomorrow.

But some day. Yes. Absofreakinglutely.

And hopefully they'll be as safe as possible.

So, yes, I'll vaccinate my kids against this disease.

Why wouldn't I? 

But why vaccinate at age 11?

Because according to Cavazos-Rehg, et. al. (2009, Nat'l. Inst. of Health)

"approximately 7.1% of American youth report sexual debut prior to 13, with more male than female youth reporting early sexual debut; by age 16, approximately 30% of females and 34% of males have had sexual intercourse."

And, ya know...I just don't want to risk the fact that should one of my children be part of that 7.1% who starts having sex PRIOR TO the precious, yet misperceived invincible, age of 13...but if that's what happens, it is out of my direct control, even though I'll communicate as effectively as I can that we need to wait to have sexual intercourse...until we know it's the right time for us...or we THINK it's the right time for us....

Regardless, it's an ugly world and people do really fucking awful things to children...and if I can do my best to prevent my child from being harmed in this way...if I can help prevent him from having cancer...from having to worry about disease any more than he already has on his plate...and I'm talking about both of my sons...then, yes...they'll receive an inoculation.

The fact remains, however, that my husband has cancer.

And we gotta gear up for surgery.

And when you get your tonsils removed when you're a grown up, it's a big fuggin deal. Two night minimum at Swedish. They won't release him until he can swallow water. 

My family will be separated. Christine and Jeff will have the boys for the duration. And Bonnie and Mark are helping. And Priya. And maybe Laura.

It takes a village.

I hope that we're only gone a few nights. We're going over the night before the surgery. I'm staying in a hotel that's on the same city block as the hospital while Randy recovers.

Because I'm recovering, too, and will need to rest and take care of myself.

And he'll be off from work for 2 weeks, minimum. He's preparing to be gone for the remaining 3 weeks of the quarter.

I'm proud of him for looking that far ahead. I know it takes a lot of courage to face cancer.

I have faith that he'll be ok.

And we'll cross the next bridge when we come to it.

We do not yet know what type of cancer treatment, if any, Randy will require.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Six months out

Today, I am six months out from my last radiation treatment for breast cancer.

Last Thursday, we found out that my husband's right tonsil has cancer.

His cancer is caused by the Human Papillomavirus. 

This is the same virus that causes genital warts.

And cancer of the cervix.

But we don't talk about HPV causing cancer of the tonsils. I've been a Health Educator for nearly 20 years, and I've never heard about cancer of the tonsils.

Cervical cancer--yes--that makes headlines.


I think it's because the cervix is sexier than the tonsil.


Because the cervix is in the vagina...and we have such a fuggin dichotomy about sexuality in our culture.

But before I go there...and I will...I have to get some rest...because I'm fried.




I am recovering, still, from the hell my body went through with cancer treatment. My doc said to give myself a month to recover for each dose of chemo...I had 12 treatments.

And then I had 21 hits of I'm still recovering from that.

And now, depending on what the pathology report shows, my family is starting to mentally and emotionally prepare for Randy to go through cancer treatment.

Based upon the pathology report, there are three possibilities for Randy:

1. Do nothing after the surgery except recover from it

2. Radiation...which is the first line of treatment

3. Radiation and chemo...which I don't want him to go through, but recognize that it's not something I can control.

Of course, we want option 1--do nothing because the Man ENT got all the cancer out and the pathology report stages the cancer as "ain't no biggie."

We'll see....

But I do know, that someday, my husband will be 6 months out...and 12 months out....and so on.

Right now, we gotta get through today.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016


The information I found about the University of Arizona's Center on Aging...I never sent it to my parents.

Well, I should say I haven't sent it yet.

Or any pictures of my trip to Tucson.

I made a choice.

It's printed. It's on my desk. I have an envelope.

I have yet to print pictures, address the envelope, or mail that shit down there.


Because I have a lot on my plate.

Not because I'm a bad person.

Not because I'm an irresponsible daughter.

But because when I got back to Port Angeles, I had a little post vacation depression.

Because who DOESN'T want to say at Ventana Canyon and drive that goddamned convertible camaro around?!


When I got home, it was spring break for Isaac, so it was full time mommy mode.

AND, when I got back, it was the first week of the spring quarter for us at the college. So, even though I did all my prep for the quarter before I left...I was replying to students, interacting with them, and, well, I was working.

I've spoken with my mother a few times since I've been home.

The most recent time was on Mother's Day. Dad wasn't there; he was at the pool, getting his exercise, taking care of himself, which I know he needs to do. So I asked her if she'd been to the doctor yet.

"About what?" she asked, surprised by my question.

"Jesus Fucking Christ, Jill!" I screamed in my head. Clearly she'd forgotten. I know that when a person is starting to experience a lapse in memory issues, they are typically surprised to questions they are not accustomed to being asked. My question was out of the blue and not part of her daily script.

"About your memory issues...?" I asked as gently, but as firmly as I could. "When I was there in March, we talked about you seeing your doctor....about getting a referral to the U of A's geriatric medicine program...remember?"

She hesitated. Not too long, but enough that it was obvious to me. She was thinking back. Did she go to the doctor? What did the doctor say? I could almost feel the wheels turning.

"OH! Right! I did. Yes. Yes, I did," she said, clearly proud of the fact that she remembered. And that she'd gone.

Or was she making it up? Was she remembering incorrectly? Was she simply trying to placate me, so I'd get off her ass about going?

"Good! I'm glad you went!" I said. "What did your doctor say?"


"Well...he said...he said that sometimes he forgets things too."

"Oh...well, that's true...everyone does forget things from time to time," I said.

Long silence.

"Did you get a referral to the University?" I asked.

"Well," she said, with another long pause, "I decided that I'm going to go with my doctor's advice and not worry about it right now."

She was pleased that she made her decision.

"Oh," I said.

Another long pause.

"Well, I'm glad for you that you made a decision about your health care. However, I do not agree with it, either personally or professionally," I said.

"I've always prided myself on my health," she said. "And this is no exception. I'm ok with where I'm at."

"I see," I said.

Another long pause.

And then I asked, "How old is your doctor, Mom?"

"Oh! Well, I don't know...he's...well he's...."

"Is he older or younger than you?"

"He's much younger."

"I see. And what's his name?"

"Uh...his name is Dr. Murray. Yes, Dr. Murray. He's a nice Jewish doctor."

"Gotcha," I said.

And in my head I screamed "What the fuck does his religion or culture have to do with the type of health care he provides!?!?!? Oh...wait...right...never mind.... It's better to listen to the Jewish doctor who you maybe see once a year and you've chatted with for 7 minutes than it is to listen to your family members, particularly your daughter who has a fucking MASTERS degree in HEALTH EDUCATION and is a college professor and TEACHES a unit on aging!!!!!! Right. No vested interest on my end. None at all. Jesus tap dancing mother fucking Christ!!!!!!!!"

I changed the subject and asked her to have dad please call me when he gets home from swimming.

She said that Sam was down from Phoenix for the day, but was taking a nap. She said they were all going to go to eat later.

I told her to have fun, and Happy Mother's Day, I love you and all that jazz....

I got off the phone with her and immediately texted my brother, venting to him about the conversation I just had with her.

He replied that he'd talk to dad.

Later I kicked myself for not asking if my dad had gone with her to the doctor. Because when a person who is experiencing memory loss is at the doctor, it's really important that someone that knows them well is with them, so that the doctor can get a better understanding of what type of issues the patient is experiencing.

My dad still hasn't called. Maybe he hasn't had time alone. Maybe she forgot I called. Maybe she forgot to tell him. Maybe she made a choice to not tell him.

So, I'm making a choice too, and my choice is that I've said what I've needed to say. I'll send the paperwork about the U of A's center for aging. I'll mail them some pictures from when I was there. Maybe it'll help her. Maybe she'll remember I was there. Maybe she'll change her mind about seeking help.

In addition, my choice is that I'm focusing on my immediate family: my husband and my sons. They need me in a very different way than my mother does. My mother is a grown up and has my dad and my brother for support. They can make decisions. I'll consult with them if they ask me, but I am not responsible for my mother, or the choices she may, or may not, make.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Her birthday

Stacie and I talked about it on Wednesday night, and we decided that it was best for me to have breakfast with my mom, alone, on Thursday for her birthday. Given that she's starting to loose her memory, she may be more candid if it were just she and I, as opposed to feeling the need to be guarded if Stace was with us.

So, I picked my mom up at my parent's home about 9:30 on her 67th birthday and took her, in that awesome convertible camaro, to breakfast. It was a gorgeous spring day and we drove with the top down.

The restaurant she picked was closed, and wouldn't open until 11 am, so I took out my phone, opened Yelp, and did a search for breakfast. The first restaurant that popped up was The Good Egg, and it was about two miles away from where we were. We hopped back into the camaro, and I asked Siri how to get there. And Siri started talking, like she does, and I thought my mom's head was gonna explode, because she is simply not tech savvy (bless her heart). For her, emailing is a stretch; FaceTiming is outta the question (partly because of the tech challenges; partly because she doesn't like the way she looks on the camera. And, no, I'm not kidding).

We had a pleasant conversation over breakfast, I filled her in on what the boys are up to, Nathan's health stuff, how Randy's voice is doing, and a little about what it was like to go through chemo. I censored the nitty gritty of it because I know she's the type to bury her head in the sand and doesn't want to hear about the nastiness of chemo. Not that anyone really does...but you'd think your own mother would want to know what you went through.......

I turned the conversation to her and asked her how she's enjoying her retirement. At some point in the conversation, she used a phrase like, "I don't remember" and I jumped on it, knowing this was my chance, and it would likely not come again.

"Does that happen a lot, Mom?"

She looked at me, surprised, and asked, "What? Does what happen a lot?"

"You not remembering?"

"Well, I don't really know. Haha. I guess. I'm not really sure."

I looked at her, and said, "Well I am concerned that it does. I am worried about you."

"It's nice that you're worried, but you have a lot on your plate with the boys and with Randy and your teaching. You don't need to worry about me."

"Mom, part of the reason I'm here is to take a break from my life and the hell I personally went through with cancer...and part of the reason I'm hear is because over the past 7 or 8 years, I've noticed that your memory is slipping."

She looked at me in the way she has my entire life, clearly uncomfortable with where I was going, and unsure of what I'd say next. And because I'm me, I get a little bit of a charge of taking people out of their comfort zone, and my mother is no exception.

"I know because of the phone conversations. I know because I can feel it. I can feel your memory slipping the same way I can feel it when Nathan's seizes. I know your brain is changing because I live with someone who has a few brain disorders, and while what Nathan deals with is different than what you deal with, it's still a brain disorder. And, we have a family history of Alzheimer's disease. Your father didn't know who his wife of nearly 50 years was when he died."

She swallowed a few gulps of water, cleared her throat and looked at me, expecting more.

I spoke slowly, so that she had time to absorb what I was saying.

"I know you don't want to deal with the idea of loosing your memory. Believe me when I tell you I certainly didn't want to deal with the lump I found in my breast. But the fact is, if I didn't, I'd be dead. I know confronting a health issue is scary, and I can help you. I can help you navigate the health care system, I have a lot of experience, both professionally as a Health Educator for nearly 20 years, as well as a patient and as a care giver. I've already looked into it, and the U of A has a facility called the Arizona Center on Aging. They have neurologists who specialize in memory issues and can help you. Are you taking any medications?"

"No. I don't take anything," she said.

"That's great! And that's pretty amazing that you're 67 years old and you're not on any medications! Good for you, Mom!"

She smiled and took pride in my compliment. Then, just as quickly, her smile disappeared. She cleared her throat.

"Dad and I have talked a little bit about my memory issues, and I suppose I should get to the...where would I go first?" she said.

"I'd start with your primary care doctor. It's important that he or she have a set of eyes on you."

"Did you see your primary care doc when you were going through chemo?"

"Yes, I saw him a couple of times. And I think it's important that when a person is dealing with a major health issue, that they have several different care providers. Each physician is going to have a different perspective, and each of those perspectives are going to be valuable in their own way."

I was getting excited. She was opening up. I could sense her willingness to get help. This was going much better than I had anticipated.

"I think you start with your primary physician, and ask for a referral to the University's Center for Aging. Depending on your insurance, you may be able to self refer and go straight to the U of A."

"Our insurance allows us to self-refer. I can do that," she said.

"Mom that's great! I'm really proud of you for being willing to pursue this. So, what I can do to help you is look some stuff up on the web about the services the University offers, print some information off for you, and mail it to you."

"That would be helpful. Getting on the computer is pretty overwhelming for me."

"I understand. So, I'll get it in the mail as quickly as I can once I get home."

"Did you talk to Dad about this? Does Sam know that you're talking to me, too?"

"Yes, Mom. We are all worried about you and the memory loss we are witnessing. It is important to all of us that you get the help you need and deserve."

"What about Dad?"

"Dad is acutely aware of your fading memory. He's really very worried. He's told me that he makes accommodations for you by leaving you notes. He said that you call him every morning at work about 8 am so that he knows you're ok. He loves you very much, and he wants what's best for you."

By this point, we'd finished eating. I was thankful that she was as open as she was to getting the help she needed. I paid the bill and we left the restaurant.

My spirits were lifted by the ease and gracefulness of the conversation. I was pleasantly surprised.

The sun was out, the sky was blue, the top was down, and we headed towards the resort to connect with Stacie. It was a beautiful day.            

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Left and Right





Squishy! But in a good way. 


Hot and hard. But not in a good way.


Dead and empty. 






Easier time latching! 

Mmm! Babies! 





Really hard time latching. 

Never quite got it just right. 

My nipple little outta whack...flat...not quite right but its a part of my body and its all good but it's...not.....really.........

Because it had cancer. And I hate it a little bit. 

Sometimes a lot. 

Sometimes I really fucking hate it a lot and I want to just chop it the fuck off.

Fuck you cancer.

Fuck you hard.

But not in a good way. 

I need a light saber. 

And a Jedi Knight. 

And DIY video on YouTube.

Which, of course, there are not any "how to do your own mastectomy with a light saber" videos.

I guess I'll make my own.....

Fucking cancer.