Friday, December 05, 2008


It's 7:30 on Friday night and I haven't fed my family dinner - Ryan' not quite home yet. Oh my! Tessa is contentedly doing an art project, and dinner is in the oven....and I'm exhuasted.

It was my best day since pneumonia came to visit. I got some things done around the house, and ran a couple of errands, and made dinner (crustless salmon quiche, a recipe from Corina that I've had for years and always intended to try). But now I'm exhausted, and it feels like a vice grip is on my chest. I will be glad when pneumonia departs.

Oh, one unintended side effect of pneumonia that I'm grateful for: the doctor made me step on the scale. Well, that was actually a little slice of hell (did it really say that?!) but it was a good wake up call. (That, and the fact that I was having trouble zipping my pants.) I've been much more careful about what I eat, and I've been eating a lot more veggies, adn thank goodness. I haven't weighed myself again since Monday but I feel much better zipping my pants already so that's something. The timing is terrible - hey, it's the holidays and fun to eat! - but excellent - hey, it's the holidays, so let's avoid adding more weight.

TGIF. After Ryan's long work week, illness in the house, and such, we're ready for some good down time as a family.


Man, this has sucked.

I have NO energy. I feel like I could lay in bed all day - which is what I did on Monday and Tuesday. I'm still not very productive, and a small amount of activity (like walking up one flight of stairs) leavese me short of breath. Carrying a laundry basket makes me gasp a little and feel like someone is pushing on my chest.

Fortunately, Tessa is doing well, the doc gave her a clean bill of health.

But me? I'm really, really glad that I didn't go to San Diego, because I don't think I could have handled it. No, i know I couldn't.

But we could have used the money. :-(

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Thoughts on survivorship: Living close to the bone

On the YSC boards yesterday, there was a post that explained things well for me, but also got me thinking. With the author's permission, I'm sharing it here.

I couple of recent threads have got me ruminating on why I check in with this board every day, why I read the mets board, etc. even though I'm three+ years out. Here's what I've found: I don't know anyone on here in person, or how you act in your private life, but I do know that when we come here, we discuss stuff that's real. I feel we are authentic, even when we're mean and crazy bitches. Maybe the anonymity helps. We express depths of real love and vitriol here that I doubt we do IRL, at least as often.

Most of the people I know IRL are not living an authentic life; not even close. I call it living close to the bone, or actually inhabiting your own body, if you know what I mean. They stress about things I cannot relate to and have totally bought into their thinking. I can't bear to be part of a conversation anymore that's focused around gossip, who's got what, whether your kid eats broccoli or not, how the teacher is mean and doesn't like your child when I've met your child and he's an asshole. I had a conversation last year with a friend who was *irate* that the deli counter at Safeway did not keep their posted hours and she really needed some smoked turkey. Sent her husband back the next day to give them a piece of her mind. AYFKM?

For example, as you're sitting at the computer reading this, stop for a minute and look around. What's on your desk...notice things. Feel your body sitting in the chair. Are you uncomfortable or in pain? Do you notice your foobs? Expanders feel like rocks? Are you blessedly comfortable and thankful for it? I feel like we are more in touch with our bodies because of cancer, and thus our emotions, because we have experienced "extreme living." You probably do that awareness exercise regularly and don't even notice it. You may even be *gasp* thankful for the little things. I'm not naive enough to think there aren't some shallow broads around here, but for the most part, this is what cancer does to us. We notice our real selves because we can't hide from it anymore.

I feel like, whether we like it or not, we've woken up, and I find it refreshing. That's why I stick around. I like your perspective and the realness that you present here. I'm sorry it takes a near death or an imminent death experience sometimes to live close to the bone. There have been threads started here about whether cancer has been a "blessing." I don't phrase it that way myself, but I thank God that at least now I'm awake, and have a place to chat with others who have woken up too. It keeps me from going back to sleep.

Peace lovely ladies,M2M

Just to be clear, I think that I have been blessed with the most amazing friends that a woman could ever hope for, ever, in the history of time. I do not believe that I do not express love and vitriol (love that word!) in real life that I express on the boards; I know who my friends are and I'm passionate about them.

Still, there is truth to the whole thing.

In real life, my friends and family (in a general sense, not thinking of specific people) do not understand my need to have a breast cancer community, especially when so much of what happens deeply saddens me. (We lost another sister this week. I can not express how it feels.) I also think that many friends and family wonder what I get from the boards that I do not get from real friends.

I have not got breast cancer friends in real life. This shames me. I have not been able to handle the fierce love, protectiveness, and fear in real life. On the boards, I can observe, and try to understand.

Some of my friends are "awake" without the curse of a life-threatening disease. I don't think that I was "asleep" before my diagnosis, but I do think that I am WIDE awake now.

Here is my response to the post:
M2M, that was just so right. Thank you.

I am awake, and I never want to go back to sleep. That is true. Although it is so, so tiring to be so "on" all the time. I try so hard to stuff my life with meaning and truth and thoughfulness and consciousness that it can sometimes exhaust me. I don't want to lose the perspective of how precious life is, but it has come at such a cost. Was I really that asleep before?

Rhetorical question, of course.

I come back all the time because I need to. It is as simple, and complex, as that. M2M, you've given me a lot to think about....and I'm thinking. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Saved by Santa

Tonight Tessa had a full on fit.

The kind with slamming doors, angry words, stomping feet, and growling. Yes, when Tessa is THAT mad, she growls.

I was at my wit's end. I recognized that she was tired after coughing half the night, but of course this behavior is NOT okay. We'd planned on driving by the Menasche house to see the lights; she lost that privledge. She pouted, stomped, cried, and yelled some more. Despite further admonishments, she then lost dessert for two days. It was getting really bad, and I was out of steam (and out of breath - just when I thought I was getting better, this took it out of me).

And Santa saved me.

Suddenly, out of the blue, Tessa stopped screaming at me (it was really ugly) and said, "Oh no, oh no, oh no, I don't want Christmas to happen! I wish it wasn't Christmas!" This caught me completely off guard, of course, but I had to ask what on earth she was talking about. Her answer? "I'll be good! Will Santa bring me coal because I was bad? Oh no, this is the worst Christmas ever......EVER......." and she commenced wailing.

First, I have to say that I have NEVER emphasized that part of Christmas. To me, Santa is all about the spirit of giving, love, and joy, and there's no way that I would have held him over her head like that. (Plus, I just didn't think of it. Tonight, if I'd thought of it, I was desperate enough to bring it up.) But she picked it up somewhere, and she was suddenly horrified by what could happen as a result of the evening.

This is interesting on several levels. First, that she actually DID have the knowledge that she was being bratty, despite her yelling at me that I was mean etc. etc. Somewhere deep down, she knew absolutely that her behavior was horrible, even if she wouldn't admit that in the heat of it. Second, that she apparently deeply believes in Santa Claus, even though I've dropped some hints about him. (She's not listening, apparently.) Third, I had no idea that Santa could save grownups. This might have been my Christmas gift, because Ryan's not home yet, and I'm tired, and dealing with a fit of this level was getting to the "I want to run away and hide" stage. Thanks for the gift, Santa. It was just what I wanted, and it fit perfectly.

Somewhere in her sobbing tirade, as Tessa wound down, she told me that I didn't love her anymore. Ouch. I made her look in my eyes and listen as I promised her that I ALWAYS love her, even when I'm mad. She told me that she believed me, but it broke my heart that she forgot how much I love her, even for a second. I tell her all the time how much I love her, and how nothing could make me stop loving her, and I'm horrified at the idea that she might have actually thought that I didn't love her in that moment. She was probably just yanking me chain, being melodramatic, etc., but that was hard to hear.

Yesterday all of this would have made me pass out, but today I was well enough to manage. Just barely, but well enough. I did some deep breathing meditation with Tessa, talked about how tomorrow was another day, talked about forgiveness and how Santa could see the fabulous girl that she is, and would probably forgive this transgression.

Sigh. Whatta day.

Two for the price of one

Well, Tessa was up coughing half the night, so I kept her home today. She is doing pretty well this morning, but we will go to the doctor. Enough of this already!

I also canceled my San Diego trip for Thursday/Friday. I was debating it for myself, still being under the weather (and it ws going to be a really busy, running all-over-the-place event, PLUS I was going to be filmed, so I needed to be on top of my game) but when I found myself holding Tessa for a couple hours in her bed starting at midnight, I knew that the game was up. The team is really understanding AND found a substitute, so I'm really relieved....

On to plan B. Or C. Or K. Or S. Or whatever plan we're on now!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

My massive to do list

- write Solstice Play
- Prepare for San Diego/Genentech speaking engagement
- Prepare for Sunday's service (story for all ages)
- Write a book! (Hunts Point)
- Pick up holiday cards at Costco
- Send holiday cards (write, stamp, etc)
- fold about 30 loads of laundry (washed, not folded)
- return phone calls
- hang Christmas lights, make swags and hang them
- Did I mention the laundry?

There is so much more on my list, but none of it is getting done today. I have given myself the day off so that tomorrow I can go full tilt and so that on Thursday I can fly out and do my whirlwind trip.

Fingers crossed that this strategy works. I am DONE being sick, but being sick is not done with me. I'm on day two of the five day course of antibiotics, and don't feel any different, but tomorrow will be a better test of whether they're working.

Pneumonia. I mean, c'mon.....really?! Ridiculous.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Well that's a bummer

I just got back from the doctor and the pharmacy.

I was diagnosed with pneumonia - bummer. I'm on antibiotics and I'm to lay low for two days. Hopefully I will be well enough to fly out on Thursday, bright and early....!

Fuzzy head

Fuzzy head, tight chest, sore throat, wahhhhhh.

I have a 10:45am doctor's appointment.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The dangers of Google

Okay, so I'm feeling progressively more crummy, so I start to Google my symptoms.

I'm either looking at influenza or pneumonia - ugh. I need to get myself to the doc tomorrow because if I have pneumonia I want to treat it asap before it gets serious. Not to say that I have pneumonia - my medical degree is still missing - but the symptoms do align.


I guess I'm just glad that it's not Christmas yet....could be worse.

But I want to feel better.


Ugh - I have a minor cold that has moved into my chest and become something a bit more than minor. I'm spending the afternoon on the couch, not doing much. Sigh. Tomorrow is a field trip with Tessa's class, but I'm going to try to figure out a way to go to the doctor, too, because the coughing is a bit much for me.

Oh well. I'm glad that the tree is up, that the Christmas cards are ordered (and waiting for me at Costco...darn it, I wanted to get them today but don't have enough energy left), that the turkey soup was made (so I didn't waste the carcass - and by the way, the stock was YUMMY!), etc. I have leftover pumpkin from the pumpkin pies - grown next door - and when I get energy I'll make pumpkin risotto one night this week. Yum.

But not today. Today I'm on the couch. Sigh.