Saturday, December 23, 2006

Taking a moment to catch my breath

With all of the chaos in my life lately, I feel like I haven't sat down for a moment just to breath. It's 10:28 on December 23, though, and I'm finally feeling like maybe I'm going to get it all done. Maybe!

All of the Christmas shopping is done, and all but a couple of gifts are wrapped. The groceries for Christmas are purchased (including an absolutely huge prime rib that has become the family favorite for Christmas dinner), and the menu is planned. The house has been decorated for a while, and it's pretty clean (except the floors, but with a dog, a cat, and a child, it's hopeless to keep them clean so we'll do the big scrub an hour before people arrive on Monday). The cranberry nut loaf that I make every year is a bit different this year due to a cranberry shortage (what the heck?! we called a dozen grocery stores, everyone was sold out) so it's raspberry nut bread, but in any case most of them are done and a few are in the oven as I speak. Tessa made gifts for family members, and they are complete.

Now, we're moving into the phase where it's time to relax. It's not a moment too soon, because much more of this running around and I would have completely lost my mind! It's been hard to get into the spirit this year with my fears and back pain, but I'm taking periodic pain killers for my back (no idea what it is, but it can wait) and the fears have been set aside for the moment.

Tessa is delighted with all this Santa business, and who can blame her? Her child's delight is so wonderful, and genuine, that it helps to bring me out of my grinchy-ness.

Tomorrow we will be with extended family on the Dahl side, with a visit (we hope) from the Surface7. It's a big potluck feast, and it will be wonderful to just hang with everyone and catch up. The young cousins - Tessa, Caleb, Joshua, and Gavin - will run around and play, and the parents will get a chance to sit back and just watch them. We might even go for a swim at my parents''s all very low key, and I can't wait.

Christmas Day will be at our house. In the morning, it will be just the three of us, hanging out in our pajamas and opening gifts slowly. Around noon I'll start prepping the roast - there are 13-14 of us for dinner, and I hope to have a sit down affair with all the china and a crisp white tablecloth and candles. Good food, family, friends, should be wonderful.

And a little highlight to keep me going when I feel too busy - we're going to Hawaii in April! My parents decided that we must go, and we did NOT say no! We haven't been on a big vacation in a few years, and I can't wait to relax on the beach. When I'm feeling down or overly stressed, the thought of laying on the Hawaiian sand is enough to keep me going. :-)

And that's all for now. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Clean scan!

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.....they worked!

I just returned from the bone scan. The tech, Mike, had me wait while "the experts" reviewed my scans, and he confirmed that there was no evidence of disease. I now consider Mike to be my personal Santa Claus, and my Christmas wishes are taken care of!

Of course I still have to figure out what's wrong; I have pain and I need to figure it out. Frankly, though, I don't care what it is. If it's not going to kill me, I can deal with it. Herniated disc? Fine. Muscle spasms? Fine. Just not cancer!

Lying in the scan, which took about an hour, I believe I actually tasted fear. Fear tastes metallic and cold. Fear is looking up at the ugly ceiling tiles and wondering if this is it, if my time is up. Fear is wondering if this will be my last Christmas. Fear is wondering if my family could handle another cancer diagnosis. Fear, fear, fear. Unfounded fears, as it turns out. I have been granted a reprieve.


Wednesday, December 20, 2006

having a hard day

The news about my YSC friend has me down. My impending bone scan (tomorrow) has me down. My never-going-to-get-it-done feelings about Christmas have me feeling bah-humbug.

But here's the zinger. I recently read, from a reputable source, that women diagnosed with breast cancer when they are under the age of 45 have a 50% 10 year survival rate. Translated, that means that I have a 50% chance of being dead in 8.5 years. I already knew that I had an 82% five year survival rate, but somehow that seems easier to beat than 50% over 10 years.

**** (put your nastiest four letter word here)

Reading the statistic doesn't change anything, but I'm having a very hard time not thinking about it and basically it makes me feel weak.

Please do not say, "This doesn't apply to you." Please do not tell me that my good attitude will save me. Please do not tell me that it's all going to be okay, because you don't know that. Nobody knows that. I am watching amazing women fall, and it makes me hurt. Breast cancer doesn't discriminate, and it often takes strong, vibrant, amazing women with good attitudes, good diets, and good doctors. And I HATE IT.

Merry freakin' Christmas. I am feeling like Scrooge right now, and the lights on my tree, the cards on my wall, the carols on the stereo are not knocking me out of my bad attitude.

I hope this feeling passes soon.


PS If anyone knows of a good place to buy a new washing machine, please let me know. Ours died and we are currently on the hunt for a new one. That's what I'm doing today instead of wrapping gifts (sigh).

Please pray for a friend

Today I went to the YSC website, and read this:
This is the hardest e-mail I will ever have to write. I will be admitted into the hospital tomorrow. I would post this general thread but since out wind storm I do not have service. I have a terrible feeling that I will not survive this time. l want everyone to know how much I love you I am scheduled to be admitted tomorrow for drug rehabilitation- there are telling me finally that at the dosage to Deluded that I am currently on I am addicted and need to immediately be tampered down,

Even if I survive the rehabilitation I do not get a sense of exception that I will survive long term, and to be honest I do not have a positive feeling about the situation. I hate to say good-bye but to tomorrow you all and I do not want to leave without being honest with you and me. Excuse my drug induced writing I am sure that it does make a lost of sense.

I am making Peace with my fate so far and I resent leaving my family so young. I wish the best for everyone.

This wonderful woman has been living with stage IV cancer, and things are not going well. She needs a miracle.

She and I have never met, but I've shared her wisdom online. My heart is breaking for her, and for her family.


Monday, December 18, 2006

Update from Storm 2006

Just a quick update to let everyone know that we are okay after the big storm that hit Seattle last week. Our only damage was that our computer room got some water (seeping from the ground? we're still not sure how it entered the house) and ruined the carpet; we never lost power. We consider ourselves extremely fortunate, as we know many people who are still without power, all these days later. It's been at freezing level at night, and so this is particularly difficult for those who don't have heat and electricity. We have tried our best to help people out; we have friends staying with us as their house still doesn't have power and because they had the additional misfortune of having four feet (yes you read that correctly) of water in their newly remodeled basement. They are taking it well and I feel that I can learn a lot from their optimism and positive attitudes. It's especially hard during the busy Christmas season to have such troubles, and I am reminded how fortunate we are to have come out so unscathed from such a nasty storm.

My parents and my aunt & uncle are still without power; my grandma just got her power back yesterday. My parents' business is still without power and we are all hoping that it goes back online soon....pools etc without power can cause big problems and I hope that soon it will be back to normal so that my extended family can breathe a sigh of relief. My parents are living in their motorcoach - thank goodness for that, because they have a generator and so they're snug and warm.

I need to add here that I consider it a major gift that we are able to help our friends in their time of need. For over a year, all I did was take and take and take the support that was offered, and I am eternally grateful to all those who gave generously of their time and gifts to keep our family afloat. Now, as I sit here in good health, it is a gift and a treat to be able to help others. I am so grateful to have a house with a guest room, filled with toys for the girls to play with; for food in the cupboard; for warm bed linens; for friends and family. I am grateful for my strong body, so that I can easily provide a little babysitting or make a meal for others. I am so grateful to be in a position to GIVE instead of just taking, and I hope that our friends understand that really, they are giving ME a gift by accepting our help.

A short note here on the nature of floods: My heart goes out once again to the Katrina victims. Here in Seattle, many were impacted by the storm (though not nearly as badly as those in Katrina, I realize) but the major difference is that not EVERYONE was impacted, and so neighbors can help neighbors. Many families have bonded to help our friends...the men shoveled out mud together, some families took loads of muddied laundry and bed linens to be cleaned, others sorted through photographs and albums to save them, etc. In Katrina, everyone needed help, so many couldn't help each other, each needing their own help. In Seattle, many families have the resources to help each other. I can only imagine the devastation of Katrina, now that I've had this tiny taste of it here, and my heart goes out to those who still suffer from the aftereffects.

This is my first time on the computer since Thursday; since our computer room was soggy we had to remove everything, of course, and so we've just gotten back online. If I owe you an email, please forgive me!