Saturday, June 10, 2006

A boy and his dog

Ryan's never had a dog - but today his boyhood dreams came true! Today, Ryan met Shep for the first time. Our family had a wonderful time visiting with Shep, and we can't wait to get him home and REALLY get to know him.

Our list of doggy "to-do's" is growing. Secure laundry room, buy dog-guard for the Subaru, trim Mozart's toenails (Shep is sure to get a few warnings from Mo, and that's okay, but we don't want real damage to be inflicted!), figure out a way (and a place) to store the dogfood, read up on puppy training... These are tasks to be done with joy - no complaints from me!

Tomorrow morning I will do my first 10 mile walk. I'm nervous - wish me well!


Thursday, June 08, 2006


Today, we found Shep! His picture, above, is from the Petfinder website, and there are a couple more pictures there, at Shep's page on Petfinder.

Unfortunately, the friend who will be helping us to train Shep is out of town, but I did as much temperment testing as my inexperience would allow (using a book called "Successful Dog Adoptions" and a very long phonecall with my brother, using the book HE has about temperment testing) and Shep passed with flying colors. He's a very active little guy, full of mischief, and I have a feeling that we will have some sleepless nights. However, he's gentle, not easily startled, and oh-so-affectionate. We are thrilled by this new member of our family.

Shep was not already "altered" (neutered) and his appointment is Monday; unfortunately, that means we can't take him home until Monday. However, he's ours: all the paperwork was filled out and the money was paid (a ridiculously low cost, I might add...!). We can't wait to get him home!


Real Life

Slowly, I (we) are returning to real life, which, though not always easy, is so much better than cancer-patient life. Instead of spending hours every day feeling ill or running around to various doctors' offices, I am knee-deep in laundry, playdates, grocery lists, and dreams for the future. What was once mundane now feels pretty darn good - I don't mind the laundry because I can do it. I have time to dream, and the hope that my dreams will come true. Real life is not on is happening NOW.

Ryan is as busy, or busier, than I am. He has been receiving interview requests, and today has interviews with three companies (as I type this, he's en route from one company to the next!). Ryan is much like his old self, but better....he is very focused, and some company is going to be very grateful that they are the company to have snagged him. Of course, it's nerve wracking to go through the process (if only we knew the outcome!) but I am confident that soon he will be fully employed, and that part of normal will return to our family, as well....and then we'll complain about long hours and busy schedules, but it will be with smiles on our faces (I hope!).

We are also in dog mode. Today, for the first time in weeks, I found a dog on that matches our criteria (black lab or black lab not mixed with pit bull, chow, rottweiler, a puppy younger than six months, and in the Seattle area), appropriately titled "Puppy Love." Will this be our dog? I don't know...but I hope to go to the shelter today to check it out! I have a book entitled "Successful Dog Adoptions" that I've read cover to cover, and it has information on temperment testing. I am hopeful...but not foolish, so if this isn't Shep, I will hold off until I meet Shep. (Should anyone be wondering, our most important criteria is that the dog not exhibit any aggressiveness, and be VERY child-friendly. Of course, we expect Shep to be the love of Tessa's childhood, but we also want to keep every child coming to our home safe. We will not adopt a dog with any aggressive tendencies, and we will take no risks.)

We are on the cusp of many good things.

I am training for the 3-Day and will do my first 10 mile walk this weekend; I'm nervous but excited for that. Our team has raised nearly $20,000 so far and I know that the money will keep coming in. I am SO PROUD of my friends for supporting this cause - together, we are making a HUGE difference. A cure by the time Tessa's a, that's not too much to ask, is it? (Well, I'll ask for one more thing, too: I want to be alive to see the cure!) The 3-Day, job, puppy, Tessa talking a mile a minute about all of the things that interest her, swimming at the club (Gold Creek), Tessa attending a ballet class with her friends at the YMCA locally (all those little girls in pink tutus is something to behold, and could melt the hardest heart), playing at the park, PEPS at our house, starting work on our garden (which is a mess!), enjoying the sunshine but not minding the rain, Ryan getting in bike rides and watching his times get faster as the hills get easier (hooray Weight Watchers!)....we're all trying to find our rhythm, trying to carve out a new version of normal that allows for the mundane (laundry) while focusing on the joy (puppies, beach picnics, splashing in the pool as a family).

I still don't make time to contemplate the past year. I can't let myself do it yet. There are parts of this year that make me feel physically sick to think about them, and that is not where I wish to be. I'm not in denial about it all, I'm just shelving it for a while. I'm allowing my body and soul to get a bit stronger, and to enjoy the flowers, the laughter of my daughter, my husband holding my hand, the prospect of hikes in the summer and camping with our dog....these, most certainly, are the finer things.

On my one year anniversary, I met with Dr. Okorn, the GP who originally examined my lump and sent me (the very next day) for a mammogram and ultrasound. It was a bit emotional to me to see her again, remembering the events of our last meeting, but I was glad to do it. That day, I reset the clock. I visited the doctor, same as a year before, but this year I had no symptoms to report, and instead was able to ask questions about avoiding osteoporosis and heart disease, what type of vitamins to take, how much calcium, etc. At the end of our meeting, Dr. Okorn said (and I quote) "You are the picture of health." Just thinking about it makes me tear up - ME, the picture of health! This is my new refrain, and it brings me joy....I repeat the words to myself daily. A picture of health. A picture of health. I am a picture of health.

And for those of you who want to know about the day to day...well, I've got a bit of a cold with laryngitis, but I don't care. I know what it means to be SICK, and this is a mere inconvenience (particularly irritating because I want to fly around doing things and I'm a bit tired, but there you have it). I'm anemic -a nd have been since during chemo - and taking iron supplements, but my doctor laughs that the world may not be ready for a version of me that has MORE energy because I really do feel energized. I'm keeping off the lost weight, which is good, because I've given away even more of my old clothes and if I gain weight I literally will not have a thing to wear. :-)

Portland with the PEPS ladies was incredible. Much laughter, some shopping, eating out, relaxing at the hotel, a long walk in the morning, times shared with my friends on the train ride....I could not have asked for more. Every new mother should have the opportunity to join PEPS - these women fill my heart with such joy, and the times we share together are really important to me. I started talking about what we'll be doing together in 30 years and Linda teared up, saying "That is what I want for me, and for my family...." and I couldn't agree more. I know how blessed I am.

And today, my mom has Tessa, as I sit here nervously awaiting news of Ryan's most recent interviews, and the world is well. Shep is out there somewhere (whether I'll meet him today or not), summer is around the corner, and I am LIVING. I wish to suck the marrow from life...and I'm trying my hardest to do that, whether it's feeling the joy of using basil I grew myself in a pasta dish I'm making, or admiring the old-fashioned roses in our garden, or listening to Tessa sing (never mind that she can't carry a tune...I think it's adorable!), or sharing lattes with Ryan in the morning. Life, with all of its ups and downs, is sweet. If nothing else, I've learned that, and I hope I never forget.