Thursday, July 02, 2009


Someone I know online is dying right now. I don't know how long she has left- I don't think she knows either - but she is in at-home hospice with palliative care.

I am actively aware of her dying, and I carry it with me, a sorrow and a burden. I don't understand it, why it must be this way. I don't understand how such a light, such a force, such a strong woman can die. It just doesn't seem possible.

I think that the message that I am getting from her death -and it's not the first breast cancer death I've watched, but it's impacting me even more than others - is that I must LIVE. I must be true, and honest, and I must seek out the joy and the beauty that is mine for the taking simply because I am alive.

It is a bittersweet, this knowledge that I carry with me, right up with me, not tucked away. Bitter because no, no, no! Sweet because I am taking the small moments and they are taking my breath away.

Tessa's long blond, sunkissed hair in braids, bouncing on her shoulders as she runs. Chocolate gelato. The moon in the blue sky today. Watching Tessa bounce to the music of Recess Monkey downtown. A catchy tune. Picnicking downtown with friends. It is so beautiful, it takes my breath away, brings a small tear to my eye. Literal gasping.

I will LIVE my life, whatever is given to me. I will feel the pain, the sorrow, the worry, the fear - just because I am seeking beauty doesn't mean that these other things are going away. But I will LIVE. I turned off my cellphone, I held Tessa's hand, I lived in the moment.

I will live my life, as long as I have life.

This is the lesson. Now I must practice it.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Picky eater advice?

Tessa's whole life, she has eaten a wide variety of foods without hesitation, and even with glee. She loves sushi (California rolls with real crab & tobiko are her favorite), Thai food, cashew chicken, and any number of other foods that "regular" kids turn their noses up at. Greek, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, all seafood....all have been favorites. She has never liked asparagus or potatoes, so I've never forced those. Or beans - she's never liked the texture of beans. But everything else was a go ahead with a smile.

In the last month, this has changed DRAMATICALLY.

Suddenly, a banana will bring her to tears. The mere mention of fish for dinner sent her under her bed for a full-on tantrum. (I pointed out that I had written a note on the recipe when I made it last, saying 'Tessa loved it and asked for seconds' and she said, "I changed my mind!" even before she tasted it.)

The list of foods that Tessa enjoys can be narrowed down to the following:
1. Cheeseburgers
2. Grilled cheese sandwiches
3. Spaghetti and meatballs

Gone from the list is chicken curry, shrimp, a wide variety of fruits and vegetables....

HELP! What do I do? I have to believe it's just a phase - I mean, she loved all this stuff a month ago - but this is getting really tough. She cried like I'd broken her heart tonight because of what I cooked for dinner, even though I said she could have mostly white rice and pea pods - but she said now she doesn't like rice or pea pods (sugar snap peas). ONLY a cheeseburger would make her happy.

This Mama is not making cheeseburgers every night. No way, no how.


Sleep deprivation and chore time

Last night I was into a good book, so I didn't turn out the light until midnight (my mistake). Ryan was restless, so I didn't fall asleep until around 1:30 (I love him anyway). And then this morning at 5am Tessa woke up crying, saying, "My tummy hurts SO much!" She threw up and the whole bit.

Cancel soccer, cancel our playdate with Anna, cancel having Michele & Dave & kids over for dinner.

Well, Tessa seems to be her regular self again, happy as a clam except mad that I won't let her play with friends. We've taken on a chore day as a result, and I just spent a couple of torturous hours in Tessa's room sorting through her things and getting rid of things. The end result is worth it but OH MY that was no fun at all!

Tessa and I also washed down her "new" desk in preparation for painting. This is another of my roadside treasures, and I'm actually thinking it IS a treasure. It is a solid maple writing desk with little cubby-drawers, well made and heavy. We are painting it white to match everything else in her room, and switching out the hardware, and I think it's going to be darling. She's excited about it, too. It will be nice for first grade homework projects.

Laundry is running, the vacuum has been getting milage, and I'm exhausted. But I have spent so much time doing fun stuff that it is good to get things done around the house, too.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Breast cancer article

Warning: This post is dark, and not for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients. Read on at your own risk. (Or click away - I'll post something lighter another day!)

I routinely look up the latest information on breast cancer, paying particular attention to ASCO findings. (This is how I determined my desire to take Zometa, for example. I'm due for another infusion in July....sigh.)

Anyway, I was playing around with info tonight, and came across this:
You may experience side effects or complications from cancer treatment. For example, radiation therapy may cause temporary swelling of the breast, and aches and pains around the area.

This is so understated as to be laughable. How about this instead?
You may experience side effects or complications from cancer treatment. For example, radiation therapy may cause deep burns which (DELETED because I was being too dark and I don't want to scare someone who stumbles onto my blog.)

I know, I know, it doesn't happen to everyone. But it happened to me.

I will be sweet and nice again....but this just hit me the wrong way!