Saturday, April 25, 2009

Michelle Obama wrote Tessa!

As I'd mentioned earlier in the blog, Tessa wrote Malia and Sasha Obama a letter after their dad took over the presidency.

Today she got a response! It's on official White House paper, with an embossed stamp, and it's signed personally by Michelle Obama. It seems like a form letter, except for the last line...

"I appreciate how hard you worked on your letter. Keep up the good work!"

Tessa had, indeed, labored over it. She copied what I wrote for her (which she had dictated to me), and there was erasing and re-writing and careful editing....all of which was quite visible in the end result. She'd used our nicest notecards, and she had tried so hard. I suddenly wish I'd taken a picture of it. :-)

I love Michelle Obama!

The day in review

- A lovely time at tea at Krystal's table at her church in Monroe - beautiful decor made by Krystal, lovely food, nice people. Well worth the drive!

- A breast cancer moment at said tea. There was a series of skits done for entertainment, and they centered around women's friendships. Suddenly, there was The Breast Cancer Skit. One friend has cancer, and reflects on the friendships in her life. I was boo hoo'ing. I couldn't stop. I got mascara all over Krystal's linen napkins. Damn I hate it when it catches me off guard like that. Sometimes it just glides over me, and sometimes....sometimes it's too much. It was okay, it didn't ruin anything....I was just overcome by emotion for about five minutes. (Thanks, Krystal, for a soft touch and for understanding.)

- A really fun birthday party at Camp Long that had at least 25 six year olds plus their parents. By the end, the kids were sugared up and crazy, and they ran around in packs like wolf pups. We could see them, they were safe, and it made me happy to see Tessa comfortable with the group...even though she did resemble a feral child for a bit there. (At home, bathed and with her hair washed, sleepy face on her pillow, I breathed a sigh of relief.) I think it's good for kids to get to run wild, get dirt - real dirt, made of soil and plant bits - on their clothes, and laugh and make noise and go fast and get out of arm's reach from adults. She's such a big girl - she could do this. (Yes, I kept my eyes on her. She might not have noticed, but I didn't look away!)

- Home again, and baking. A cake for the church's un-birthday party tomorrow. (The chocolate cakes are done; the vanilla frosting is done; tomorrow morning when the cakes are cool I'll frost them and then decorate with viola flowers from the garden.) And bread so that we can have sandwiches for lunch - it's in the machine.

- And now it's time for bed. Yawn!

PS I booked the 40th birthday trip with Carolyn & Susan - our mutual celebration of turning 40. We're going to Portland at the end of next month - hurrah! I still need to figure out what to do for my "real" birthday in September.....ideas, anyone?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The NYT is not usually a source of inspiration for me. To the contrary, it usually makes me sigh and feel sad, because aside from the fact that I think it's a great newspaper, the news is usually depressing at some level.

This wasn't. Thank you!

Slogging through

For one reason or another, I haven't slept very well in the past week.

I'm exhausted. As a means of "relaxing" I started to play around on the YSC site, answering and reading posts from other survivors. As is not uncommon, there are disagreements on the site, and I found myself taking sides.

And it just made me more tired. So I logged out, and I'm wandering the house doing this and that instead. I've made great book progress this week, but today I am too exhausted to contemplate the research I had in mind. Monday will be soon enough.

But I am so very tired. I operate on a regular sense of tired, but adding some lost sleep is not helping.

The weather is gorgeous, Tessa is having a friend for a sleepover, and there is much good in the world. Let me get up and try to focus on that...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time for change

Warning: Whining ensues.

I feel like crap.

I'm just so tired, and not in the "oh I need a nap" way and not in the "yawn" kind of way, but in a bone-weary way. I can't quite describe it. My brain is weary, and I am often so tired that it's hard to concentrate because of it.

And I ache. I ache, ache acheacheache. It's worst after I've been sitting or lying down, but there is a perpetual ache that makes me not want to move. Combined with my fatigue, it's hard to exercise, because I feel so crummy.

Something's gotta give. With all the treatment I've had, side effects are inevitable, and there is a big discussion around AIs surrounding quality of life issues.

Of course, I could have these issues because I had my ovaries removed when I was 36 years old. For any of you ladies out there reading this, make no mistake: estrogen is your FRIEND. I miss estrogen more than I can say. More than my boobs, if you can believe that, because you can get fake boobs but if you've had my kind of cancer (ER+) you can't get fake estrogen. The fatigue, the achiness, may be partly part of the missing ovaries/estrogen.

If I went back, would I do it all over again? Probably. Was it the right thing to do? Well.... I have my doubts. It's too late to undo it so I won't dwell on it, but I struggle with it.

So it's time for change. I saw this study:
...and it says that two years of an AI followed by three years of tamoxifen is just as effective as five years of an AI. I really think that it might be time to switch to another drug, because I am having such a hard time. And if it's a no-risk proposition, I really need to do it. If there is some risk in switching, or going off hormonal treatment, I need to consider that, too. I've been on AIs for more than three years, and I have a hard time forcing myself to take the pill every day because it makes me feel so bad. If the AIs are the problem, this would help...

I am tired - literally - of feeling that way. I have to find a way to make it better. I need 10 hours a night of sleep and still don't feel rested, my energy levels are low, and I hurt.

I'm going to try to find a way out of this, while maintaining not only my quality of life but also the quantity. I'm still aiming at 100.

Hannah is ten. She has breast cancer. She has to have a mastectomy, and who knows what else.

If you pray, please pray. She's TEN! She's just a little girl....

I'm praying for ALL of the little girls....but Hannah in particular.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Alki days

I write from a coffee shop on Alki Beach, where the large windows are thrown open to let the ocean breeze come through, and the water is sparkling, and the mountains are crisp. Fit people run by with their bouncing dogs, moms are arriving with beach bags and toddlers, and there is a steady hum of people talking and birds chirping and an occassional car going by. It's like being at a resort, and I am humbled to think that this is MY community, and that on this gloriously sunny day, it's mine for the taking.

As much as I'm torn to either take Shep for a run or just sink my toes in the sand while I read a magazine, I am here to work on the Hunts Point book. It's taking form, growing its shape, and though I find it incredibly frustrating that the words don't come easily and I feel like I'm slogging through oatmeal to make it happen, progress does come.

But only if I work on it. So, for the next few hours, here I am. I'm in one of the most beautiful spots, and I'm pursuing my dreams. Could be much worse!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


We gardened most of the day, and the front is dug up as much as we're going to do it this year. The idea that we could get rid of ALL of the grass was just a bit too overwhelming this year, but we've dug up a substantial portion - tripling last year's garden - and it's just sitting and getting ready. (The method we use buries the sod up-side-down, so we have to wait for it to compost itself, about six weeks from now. That's good timing for summer veggies like basil and tomatoes and zuchinni and such that need warmer weather, anyway. The spring veggies are planted in the "old" bed.)

We received some borage plants as a gift from neighbors, and they went into the ground, along with my first rhubarb plant. (Might need to get more rhubarb, hmmmm.) I also planted some more herbs in pots - cilantro, chives, and oregano, in addition to the parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage that we already have on the go. Still need to get basil, tarragon, maybe a bay plant....

And we're TIRED. Manual labor is hard work.

I wrote my boss to postpone my meeting. I want to make it worth his time, and I want to complete the first two chapters to give him. So, tomorrow will be a work day after Tessa goes to school.....

Tessa's in the tub, nearly time to get her out to go. Happy Sunday, everyone!