Saturday, February 07, 2009

New days

This morning I don't feel 100%, but I feel well enough. Good! Hopefully my side effects are gone permanently, or at least for another six months 'til I do Zometa again.

Ryan is off to Habitat for Humanity. My construction worker/save the world/live according to his values/motivated husband is sexy. :-) Tessa and I will stop by to visit him for lunch later today.

But first, we're prepping for a friend's birthday party, which is a tea party for a group of little girls. Tessa was choosing her outfit yesterday - her new Easter dress, a crown, and gloves. Oh how I adore being the mother to a six year old! In any case, right now Tessa is carefully making the birthday card, writing her message and decorating it with pinks and purples and putting smiley faces and flowers on every letter.

Today while Tessa is at the party, I'll do errands and attempt to catch up what I got behind with yesterday. This evening, Tessa gets a sleepover with her beloved Anna, and Ryan and I are going to a dinner party for Marisa - happy birthday Marisa! Tessa's thrilled about her sleepover, and Ryan and I are thrilled for our night out, too.

So we muddle along in our lives, trying to do that which we value, trying to soak up the moments, trying not to get caught up in the minutia, trying to do our best.

Love, Kristina

PS This merits its own post, but this week I am finding budgeting difficult, annoying, frustrating, and completely lacking in rewards. We overspent last week (on nothing interesting, for the record - there are no fancy electronics or anything to show!) and so this week we're super tight on the budget. I keep reminding myself that this is a CHOICE, that we are chosing to eliminate debt from our lives, that in this economy we are doing well, all things considered. Still, nobody said that budgeting was easy, and this week I think it stinks. I'm not feeling motivated, I'm feeling grumpy and cash strapped, and it isn't fun at all, and the long term goal seems too far away. I know we'll get through this hurdle....but in the here and now it's just a pain. So there.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Side effects

I am officially feeling crummy.

I was doing okay until about 12:30, but I'm officially feeling gross.

A call in to a friend to pick up Tessa from school, and I'm crawling into bed.


Thursday, February 05, 2009


So I did it.

I got to the building and I started shaking. Getting an IV in a chemo ward is an unnerving thing to do - I don't care how many times you've done it. When you're two chairs away from where you had anaphalactic shock due to a chemo drug, it's even more unnerving. Never mind that Zometa isn't chemo, that's not the point.

Everyone commented on my long hair.

Lori came with me to keep me sane. She brought chocolate and magazines, and she took excellent care of me.

The infusion was relatively short, and I survived it. Best of all, I only have to go back every six months.

I found out today that someone on my medical team that I care about deeply got breast cancer, too. It was caught early, and she's okay. But I'm mad. It's so unfair.

I feel some nausea tonight and I don't know if this is the beginning of Zometa side effects, or a psychosomatic effect, or what. I'm going to bed and hoping that the morning shows it to be psychosomatic....and gone.

Z day

Today I'm returning to the oncology ward to visit Dr. Rinn for my regular check up, and to get a new drug, the bisphosphonate Zometa.

Zometa helps with osteoporosis (it's a bone-building drug) and has the added benefit of cutting risk of recurrence, including mets, by about one third. When that news came out, I knew Zometa would be my next line of defense.

But I have to go back to that building, the one with the sad memories. I have to give my arm to a needle, I have to sit in that familiar chair. It's not the kind of walk down memory lane that people dream of.

What's more, there is a relatively common side effect for the first couple of infusions; often people get "flu like symptoms" (that is how they are described) for 24-72 hours after the infusion. Blech. I have many plans this weekend, and the flu is not part of them.

I will need to do some serious meditation to get through this. Better than that, though, is that Lori is coming with me to distract me. She's a dear friend and she'll be of good help with that. I'm also having PT with Adrienne today (I'm being an obedient little patient and catching up with all of my overdue medical stuff - I even sat in the dentist's chair for several hours this week) and while the PT isn't as fun as I'd like (scar tissue blah blah blah) the visit with Adrienne is good for my soul.

So I'm trying to acknowledge the hard times, focus on the positive, and balance it all out. Today, that feels like quite a challenge.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

More on the economy

All my life I was taught about The Great Depression.

As we sink lower and lower into the current depression, it seems to me that "great" is a misnomer for the previous one. "Really, really awful" might be more appropriate. Or "frighteningly terrible" or something like that. I'm aware of the multiple meanings of "great" but though the previous depression was large, it wasn't great.

And now? What will this depression be called? It doesn't look so great, either.

Today's paper mentions 200 layoffs at Swedish, the largest hospital (and the one I've received most of my treatment at) in the area.

It also says that Costco's profits are down. (This appears true to the naked eye. I went to Costco yesterday with a $20 bill from Grammy & Grandpa and instructions to pick out Tessa a new Easter dress. Eyeballing people's carts, they were much smaller than usual, and filled with necessities (food) more than those "oh I'll just grab a sweatshirt and a pack of flashlights and a few bottles of wine" that Costco is known for. What's more, I found parking easily, and there was no wait at the check stand. And, by the way, I paid cash for the dress, didn't buy another thing, and took my change with me. In previous years, I'd never have done that.)

These economic comments would not be relevant, except that they are small notes in a long list of economic problems. In our area, Boeing, Microsoft, WaMu have all announced layoffs, in addition to countless others. It doesn't look good.

So we are watching our pennies. We're in good company doing such, as so many others are doing it, too.

BearingPoint looks like it will be able to continue placing Ryan at projects, and we are prayerful that will continue to be the case.

But we're making rice and beans, and using it up, wearing it out, fixing it, or doing without, as the old saying goes. (Did I get that right?)

And the library has never seen so much of my business. Gotta love that!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

in the mail

Tessa's letter, which is awaiting sending now:

Dear Malia and Sasha,
I'm glad that your dad is President. What is your new puppy's name? I like horses - do you? I'm happy that you get to live in the White House.
Tessa Surface
age 6
Seattle, WA, USA

This is the longest letter that Tessa has ever written, but it was important to her.

What I hope that she is remembering is "Politics are important. Make sure your voice is heard. You are a part of the process. What happens in DC impacts us. Little girls are a part of the process, too."

She drew a picture of our family, too.

And now it's headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Monday, February 02, 2009


Tonight I made a vegetarian entree for dinner (again; I'm getting better at this). This one was a leek gallette featuring goat cheese and home made whole wheat pastry crust. It was delicious, if I may say so myself.

I will enjoy it even more when I grow those leeks and shallots in my garden. Almost time...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Content with the day

Church in the morning, Farmer's Market, chores, friends for Superbowl. Now, the friends are gone, Ryan is napping with Tessa after putting her down for the evening, the dishwasher is running, and I'm getting ready to turn in myself.

It was a good balance of things. I hope for more days like this.


We're just about to sit down and watch the Superbowl. (Never mind that it started 15 minutes ago.)

I could care less about football. I *think* I know who is playing in the Superbowl, but whether I'm right or wrong doesn't matter to me.

It does matter that our family will sit down together, that friends (the Hissongs) will join us, that the children will wander in and out as they play, the dads will discuss the football moves, the moms will talk about this and that, and we'll all mingle.

It does matter that I used this as an excuse to tidy up the house a bit. I also put out Superbowl food: hummus (home made), carrots, crackers, cheese (including Cirrus from the Port Townsend Creamery, which we picked up at the Farmer's Market after church), chips, salsa, salmon dip. Oh, and home made chocolate chip cookies (Tessa helped). For dinner we'll add some home made pizza and salad.

So, now we relax and enjoy our friends, our home, and the afternoon. Football? Well, it's as good of an excuse as any.