Saturday, October 27, 2007

Worth it

At about 6:30pm, I found myself sitting on the couch at the party wishing I could take a nap. Fabulous friends, fabulous food, good times for all, I just get so tired.

But at 8pm, the prizes were awarded, and Tessa won "Best Child's Costume" for her bat princess ("Baterella"). It's such a small thing, such a simple thing, such a meaningless thing.... and such a lovely thing. She's over the moon.

And I'm pretty proud of the fact that I made the darn thing. With a needle and thread, of all things! Me!

Would you believe I forgot to take a single picture? I know, I know. But Halloween is still coming and she'll wear it again, and I'll get pictures this time. I promise!


A trip to the coffee shop; a trip to Costco (where, I am pleased to report, we did not buy a single impulse item, despite the zillion distractions that Costco offers), and now we're home for a while before heading to the Halloween party.

Last night I was awake most of the time between 2am and 6am. Ouch. What's with that?

I'm looking forward to the Halloween festivities. Our whole family is dressing up - it's a costume party - and we're looking forward to spending time with our PEPS friends and relaxing. Tessa had a hard time falling asleep last night because she was so excited for the party - she's been anticipating this day for at least six weeks. I love these simple pleasures, and how, in Tessa's eyes, there is nothing more perfect than a costume party with friends, and I love how she brings out our joy in it as well.

We decided to bail on trick-or-treating in the Junction (sponsored by the Junction businesses) because the day is jam packed already, and in the past week Tessa's been having more meltdowns than usual, so we didn't want to push our luck. (Not sure what's up with that, but she's been learning at ten times her usual speed in the past few weeks so I wonder if her brain is just fried. I'm sure it's just a phase but I miss her easygoing self! Yesterday at the "best teddy bears picnic" with Zoe and Jessie she was just a disaster, despite how much she'd looked forward to it, and little things set her off. Sigh.)

My boob (one looks okay, the other, um, not) is really bumming me out. It pulls on my clothes. I know it needs another surgery to correct it, because this is not simple swelling, it's a relatively big problem. I've seen it enough to know. I don't know what to do yet. For now, nothing. But doing nothing makes me feel powerless and angry; I deserved better than this, and I don't just want to "take it." I feel really frustrated about it.

But today I must let it go, and enjoy the joys of the season.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Though I'm so tired all the time, sometimes it's worth pushing through.

This afternoon, it would have been very nice to take a nap. No dice - Tessa isn't a napper, and there is no sense in forcing it.

Plus, tomorrow is a Halloween party that we go to each year, and (egads) I hadn't even begun making Tessa's costume yet.

Making. Yes, me. Usually I buy Tessa's costumes, but this year she said that she wanted to be a Bat Princess. You may have noticed that this is not a commonly found costume, as most little girls are not bat obsessed as is Tessa! In any case, I loved the idea of a non-commercial, creative, inventive costume that married Tessa's princess-phase with her bat-phase, so I committed.

When I was a few days out of surgery, my mom took me shopping at the fabric store....foreign territory to me, but I took the plunge. We bought yards and yards of tulle, some black polarfleece fabric, and some funky sheer purple fabric with sparkly black velveteen bats on it, as well as some notions. Those objects have sat in a bag until today, when I realized that I had 24 hours before the party.

So, I got out my sewing box and went to work. This is not an elaborate costume, but we made Tessa a funky tutu style skirt, and some wings. I have to say, I'm pretty proud of myself, and Tessa is really pleased with the results.

I'll post pictures after tomorrow's party so that everyone can see. There are two Halloween parties this weekend, plus Halloween proper, so it'll get lots of wear. And I'm more tired than when I started, but I'm very proud of my small accomplishment. Tessa still thinks I'm WonderWoman, even when I know it's not true. She thinks that I can make anything, and that I'm an amazing seamstress. It doesn't matter that this is laughable and somewhat comic, because I love that in her eyes I'm so capable.

So tonight I'll fall into bed feeling like I've accomplished something, and hoping that maybe tomorrow I just won't feel so tired.


Yesterday was a busy day.

I went to the doctor, and we discussed my breast results....uneven. I expressed my disappointment. The doctor is a good, kind woman, and she said she was "devastated" and was praying for better results.

I am to wear the hated strap at night, I am to rub warmed castor oil into the breast, and I am to do daily massages for 5-10 minutes twice a day. I am to exercise the area as much as possible to loosen up the scar tissue. I will hit the pool next week, Tegaderm over my wounds, to try to make that work.

I really wish, at some point along the way, that things would get easier.

Today I'm cleaning the house while Tessa's in school, and making a lunch for Katie, Jenny, and the girls. Tessa wants to have a "best teddy bear picnic" in her room with Zoe & Jessie, and I'm making a butternut squash soup for the ladies. It's a good way to get my butt in gear to get some things done around here, because my energy is zip and without a reason I think I'd let it all fall apart.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Grateful that it's a new day

I am so glad that yesterday is done.

Today while Tessa is at preschool, I'm going to the plastic surgeon again. She'll remove the nasty bits from my breasts, revealing whatever is underneath. Hopefully she'll also lift all restrictions.

Confession: I've already lifted most restrictions. 5 pounds? C'mon. Yesterday I went grocery shopping. I hauled my bag through airports. And on my trip I stopped wearing the **** bra and strap. I can't see any change from making that change....I just couldn't take it for another minute.

I'm usually 100% compliant with doctor's orders. Maybe the new me isn't so compliant.

When I was at the PS last time, she actually seemed shocked that I *had* worn the straightjacket 100% of the time, despite the fact that those were her orders.

Another day. I will try to make the most of it. I will try to set aside fear, and fatigue, and simply live.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I am really, really tired.

I have typed that sentence how many times on this blog? Countless. I'm tired of hearing myself say it.

The news of Melinda's passing hits me really hard. It wearies my soul. She did EVERYTHING. She was still praying for miracles. She was still seeking just one more treatment, still taking tests to find new avenues, still filled with hope. She had a fabulous attitude. She was still reaching out to others to help them through times of despair.

And now she's gone. It is not fair.

The trip tired me, and a day of errands and chores tired me, and I'm still not back to my regular self. I've heard some women say that the recovery time on each successive surgery is harder, and I don't doubt that at this point. I "should" be better, but I'm wiped out. My mind is tired, my body is tired.

another thought

My last post sounded braver than I feel.

A week ago, I was sending and receiving messages from this brave woman. And now she's gone, forever. It hurts. And it frightens me.

Another warrior lost

This morning I ran to the computer to check the YSC boards, hoping for a miracle.

The miracle did not arrive. Instead, I read that Melinda was gone.

Melinda was known as Dr. Melinda on the boards; in one of those strange twists of fate, she was actually studying oncology when she was diagnosed, and she took her board exams while she was in chemo, becoming an oncologist. She was patient, wise, funny, empathetic, and kind, and she touched everyone she spoke to. She last posted to the boards just days ago, and even her last words had optimism and humor. The world is the worse for not having her in it.

She leaves behind a loving husband; I pray he can find peace and comfort.

Whenever I think that do not have the strength to keep fighting breast cancer publicly, when I think about taking my life back to it's normal course (maybe doing environmental work, instead of breast cancer work), I am reminded why this is my cause. I will fight for Melinda, to honor her. I will fight for myself. I will not back away.

Rest in peace, Melinda. You are already missed.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Home from Greensboro

I can't tell you a thing about Greensboro, because I barely stepped outside of my hotel, which was located somewhere that was not downtown Greensboro. However, the weather was nice (upper 70s), and the hotel was nice (the O. Henry).

The trip was a whirlwind; my flights were delayed both coming and going, and so I spent as much time at airports and in the air as on the ground. It was not in the least bit relaxing, but I'm still glad that I went. The Genentech and Snow reps seemed to like my presentation a lot, and hinted that there were more opportunities to come. I appreciate the opportunity to make a little money for my family, but just as much, I appreciate the opportunity to channel some of my negative breast cancer feelings into something so positive.

I am home alone, as Tessa is still with my mom & dad, and Ryan's still at work. Time to catch my breath, and even possibly take a nap. (I never take naps, but I got up at 2:30am Seattle time, and given my fatigue in general that's a little over the top.)

On the second leg of the trip, there were several soldiers in chamoflage uniforms. I was surprised to notice that the chamo was in shades of tan and light gray, not the shades of green I expected...until my brain engaged, and I realized that these soldiers aren't fighting in green jungles, but on brown sand. My connection to the war in Iraq is a very distant one: I don't know anyone fighting there, I'm politically opposed to the war, and as a mother I just grieve for the loss of life of so many mother's children on all sides of the conflict. War is incomprehensible to me. I turn off the TV when visions of war - imaginings of Hollywood, or the news - come on, because I can not tolerate the images; they seep into my soul and sear my eyes and make me ache.

Maybe it was just a fanciful imagination, but it seemed like the soldiers on my flight were particularly handsome. They were also very quiet. They averted their eyes. As we disembarked, I asked one next to me, "Are you returning from overseas?" and he softly said, "Yes, ma'am." All I could think to say was, "Welcome home." No political agenda here. These are boys returning to their mothers, and the mother in me wishes nothing more than for all of the soldiers to be reunited with their families.

(And I will just mention briefly how old that "ma'am" made me feel. Ancient, actually. Grandmotherly, without the benefit of grandchildren.)

My problems are small in the face of the world's problems, and yet, they are my problems.

I am grateful that I am not a soldier. I am grateful that my husband, father, and brother are not soldiers. My heart goes out to every soldier and their families.