Monday, October 30, 2006

Ghosts and Goblins and 8th Graders...OH MY!

Sunday night was the community Halloween party and I spend most of my time convincing my 3 year old that masks are just for pretend. Needless to say, neither one of my children participated in anything other than the free meal. Maybe next year.

I spent some time getting my groove on with the toddlers at daycare this morning. It was the most exercise I have had in several months. I was sweating to the freeze song and kids in motion. Yesterday was near 70 degrees and this morning was gorgeous but as I left the daycare and walked to the school to sub for junior high the weather was a changing and I should have known it was a sign...

The room was hot enough to boil water and the kids were bouncing off the walls because that's what they do when a sub comes. I had a bit of trouble switching gears and lost some time trying to get my sub face on, I ended up bribing them with some Halloween origami which, in the end, proved to be fruitless because it was too difficult for all of us. I laughed when an 8th grade boy asked me to help him. I don't have enough patience for reading the newspaper, let alone folding a tiny square into some sort of scary creature...

Junior high is a ruthless world. It is a time when nobody really fits in and everyone is trying so desperately to find themselves. The boys are constantly picking on each other and competing for the crown of class clown so they can have people at least accept them for being funny. The girls are experimenting with makeup and clothing while their bodies are changing faster than the a chocolate bar lasts at my house. I wouldn't want to relive those couple of years for anything. It is an entirely different experience being a junior high substitute. Not for the faint at heart or the soft spoken, but I made it until 3:25. Whew!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Chemotherapy Round 8, (4 more to go)

Well, yesterday was that time again and this time, because I was so anxious and fidgety the nurse gave me some ativan. I immediately felt like I was woozy and laid my head down in the recliner. I woke only moments before she had to flush my port. It was definately the easy way out. It was a little difficult to eat lunch with my dh afterwards, I was zoning and a little dizzy. But it sure made the three hours at the infusion center go by fast. If this will be the norm, I may have to give up crotcheting...I'll never get anything done if I am passed out the whole time.
I learned on Tuesday evening that my sister-in-law's father was in the hospital. It seems they have foudn some growths in his abdomen. They don't know much at this point. I know too well that feeling of "what's next". I remember sitting in the hospital room and just praying for someone to come and tell us what was going on. It is scary and I am praying for their family to find the strength to get through this.
October is fading fast and the end of the year will be upon us in no time. I am excited for a fresh and healthy 2007.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Perfect Harmony

This afternoon was a wonderful distraction from thinking about chemo tomorrow. I carpooled with another substitute teacher (little does the rest of the world know we have the best job in the world:)) to the Colony. It was just what I needed before a couple of sick days. The afternoon went by too fast and my throat is sore from talking but it was worth it. The world is a lot smaller out there, but the most important things are a lot clearer. Faith, family and compassion for your fellow man seems to be the theme. I could learn a thing or two from them. They sang for me at the end of the day, by request. I could pick out at least four harmonies, it was perfectly beautiful.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Insignificant, but amazing.

I spent the morning making pumpkin and candy corn decorations from construction paper. It was too much fun. It got me thinking. Some of the most enjoyable moments in my life are the simplest ones. The conversations we have in the car on the ride home are excellent examples; for instance Sunday night; my three year old son explains to his sister,"Dad is the dad and mom is the mom and you are the sister and I am the, um... PEOPLE" he shouted triumphantly. Bedtime prayers are really great moments, too. I love the million questions that pop into a child's head when they lie down in bed. "Is tomorrow in the morning? How far is the moon? Can airplanes fly to heaven? When is Jesus going to find me a boy to marry? When I am big can I have an orange 4-wheeler? Can daddy make bunk beds?" I love being a mommy.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I've come undone.

It's 4:45 am. I am not sleeping. There are several reasons why, some of which I am not going to share with you because they are not appropriate for reading as you sip your morning coffee. Your welcome.
Several things are scrambling in my auto-pilot brain this morning. I am not sure that I can organize my thoughts so I think I might just type what I am thinking as it comes into my brain, so as to not confuse myself. This being much different from actually trying to create a post that has an actual story or even a purpose at all.
1)my scalp hurts - I never anticipated that losing my hair would actually hurt more than my is very sensitive to temperature and sore. It gives me headaches. Sometimes I feel like there is a substance pushing it's way out of the follicles where the hair was. I just want to wash my head every couple of hours. I have been really careful to blot my head dry, but yesterday I just felt like doing a thorough towel dry and rubbed my head until it felt better. The towel was so covered with hair I just threw it in the garbage instead of putting my washer and dryer through more misery.
2)I am going crazy- I started reading a book to give my brain a rest from thinking and I didn't realize until I was several hundred pages into that I had just read it earlier this summer. I guess I forgot. I wonder how people who continue to work full-time during chemo feel? Does a consistent schedule help? Every time I have chemo it is so different. I think I am feeling okay and then WHAM I am sick and yucky. I start a task at home, like filling the dishwasher and then I get interrupted by my child or the phone and hours later I walk into the kitchen and the dishwasher is wide open. It still, after all these months, doesn't feel real. I try to read my body and feel the symptoms. I am a terrible patient. I don't know if what I am experiencing is nausea, menstrual cramps, constipation or just plain anxiety. I know it hurts and I don't like it.
3)wellness, shmellness- I have the vitamins, the goji juice, the bottled pure water, the chi-machine, the hot house, the books and Cd's that tell you how and why to eat better...and all I really want is a chocolate covered rice krispy bar.
4)I wish real life had a pause button,too- I try to make a budget and keep to it. I try to have hopes and dreams. I try to think about next year when I will have one child in kindergarten and one in preschool. I want to fast forward past this chemo, but not lose any time with my friends and family in the process. I have chemo two days before Thanksgiving, two days before my daughters fifth birthday and five days before Christmas. How am I going to enjoy the holidays? I feel extremely self-centered and vain spending all this time thinking of myself when I should be enjoying my kids and the 'real' life that keeps happening. Life goes by too fast and not fast enough.
5)driving myself crazy is one thing, can you imagine what my dh is going through?- I go back and forth from being weak and sick and quiet to being loud and angry and sick. He has the wonderful job of assessing my many mood changes, putting up with my crazy ranting and raving and then taking care of me. I am being really honest when I say this - I am not sure I could do the same for him. One minute I want him to sit by me and hold me and the next I can't stand having him near me. It is not healthy, for either of us. We have two little one's watching us; soaking in everything, good and really, really bad, that they are going to use in their future relationships with people and it scares me to death.
6)prayer is a necessity- for the first time in my life I really, really, really, really understand that my faith is not just about church on Sunday. The foundation for my faith came from when I was in Sunday school singing songs, or in youth groups planning activities like car washes and trips to St. Louis or New Orleans, or when I earned my nickname in high school 'church lady', or when I attended a Christian college, or when I got married and asked my husband to join my church, or when I baptized my children. Now that I have looked cancer in the face and realized that my place here on earth is just temporary, NOW, I know I need prayer. I need prayer because when everything else is crumbling down around me I know I can get down on my knees and cry and He hears me. I am not alone. He has called me by name and there is a place waiting for me in eternity. Maybe I am crazy here. There is sanity in heaven.
This is my daily struggle.

and I am a generation X'er

Allright people. It's crunch time. Get to know the issues so you can make an educated decision. It's your right, your duty. Here are the facts. Use your God-given mind to make a choice and vote.
(btw (by the way) use 2029 for the last 4 digits of your zipcode, if you are from my town, on this website to search the candidates listing, too)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our own Little House in the Village...

My mother, the guardian angel herself, has been borrowing movies from the library for my kids. The latest being a potty training video and some Little House on the Prairie stories. The potty training video included a catchy little diddy that included the phrase "where the wee wee and poo go". It drove me bananas and my almost 5 year old watched it more than the 3 year old we are training. But the stories with Ma and Pa brought back tons of memories of growing up on the acreage. My mother thought that television was the devil reincarnated and it was rare that we got to watch a program on PBS, but I do remember catching a Little House episode after school every now and then. I was mesmerized by the beautiful long hair and long dresses of the Ingalls girls and the stories of hard work and love and compassion for your fellow man. It was so romantic. I think it was then that I decided I wanted to marry a farmer and live off the fat of the land...if this illness has taught me anything it's that life isn't all that it's cracked up to be, but it could be a whole lot worse. I have seen the world with crystal clear 20/20 vision through this cancer and I feel blessed. I may not be rich with money or new cars or a fancy house, my richness is measured in the support and love that flows all around me. I can't believe I didn't see it before. Obviously, God didn't want me to take it for granted any longer.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

It takes for a long time.

Lately, everything we do is measured in moments of time. Trying to explain time to a three year old and an almost five year old is next to impossible. So, we a lot of things like; when it get's dark out, after daddy get's home,and when the snow comes. My ds has already figured out what takes for a long time and what takes for a short time and that is how he chooses to measure everything that happens..."Mom, does it take for a long time to go to the ball game?" As much as I would like to say I was more patient than a three year old, I can't. Everytime someone asks me how it's going I feel like saying, "It takes for a long time." Yesterday the kids and I laid down for an afternoon snooze and two and a half hours later my daughter was shaking me to get up saying, "nap time is over, I need snack." I choose these moments to try and remind her I am sick and I don't feel good and I need to rest a little while longer. She sighs and says, "it takes for a long time for you to get better mom." I know honey, believe me, I know.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chemotherapy Round 7, (5 more to go)

I am officially not a new patient anymore. I tried to schedule my next appointment for a Tuesday again and the receptionist quickly told me I wasn't able to meet with my doctor as he reserves Tuesday mornings strictly for new patient visits. So we move the therapy dates to Wednesdays and I become just another name on the list of cancer patients. Done deal.
The infusion center was full again today. It seems Wednesdays are busy days. It is becoming more difficult to stomach the drugs, today was my fist day with the little pink puke bucket in my lap while I was being pumped with my 'poison'. That was an experience I could live without doing again. But, keeping with the positivity, we are one more visit closer to the end.
I am pretty tired tonight and it's been a long week already so I am turning in. I hope to get online again soon. Check out the latest news about the daycare to keep in the know. We have to get all the right information out so people can have the knowledge before they have to vote on the issue.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's good 2 B 3!

My son turned 3 on Sunday. Since we had an extended weekend and daddy worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday we scheduled a party for Monday. Yet, we spent the whole weekend celebrating anyway. Saturday Grandma took us to the public library in Sioux Falls. I had never been to this branch. It has a large structure in the kids area that looks like a train. My kids had so much fun reading in the train. I think my son took every book off the shelf looking for books that were orange. We capped off the day with a trip to the dollar store. I can't for the life of me understand what I did with my hard earned money before the dollar store came along? Both my kids got outfits for Halloween and I stocked up on gymboree tights for my daughter. Thank goodness we live across the street from church because we all slept in until a quarter to 8 on Sunday morning. We barely had time to wash our faces before the church bell was ringing. We missed the greeting but made it for the confession and absolution, thank goodness, I really need that part! Breakfast was a benefit for a young man who cracked a vertebrae in his neck and has been wearing a halo around his head for several months. He has healed and it sure is good to see him smiling and walking around. The breakfast was delicious and I hope the family is blessed by some generous donations to help out. The kids and I baked the cake and cupcakes on Sunday. I believe I should be nominated for mother of the year for trying to make marble cake with two children under 5. Dad was home Monday and we spent the better part of the day cleaning. We got to see a darn good football game at 4pm. I am learning about this game of football. Maybe by the time my son is old enough to play I will understand a thing or two about the rules. Dh's nephew scored a few touchdowns and had some very hard tackles that made me wish my son would take up cross country instead :). We had planned a small gathering of family that really isn't ever small with my husband's crew. It all came together around supper time and we, of course, had cake and ice cream first and then the healthy stuff. His favorite present, if you don't count the fake teeth from Grandma, was from his auntie; a rocket blaster that kept him occupied for most of the evening shooting styrofoam rockets up into the air as far as he could see. My sil apologized when she brought the package saying the age recommendation on the package was 10+,"...but I couldn't resist, he had so much fun playing with it this summer at my house."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Embracing the ugliness one cut at a time.

The fear of losing your hair, along with actually losing it, is truly worse than having it gone. I would have never believed it, but it is the honest truth.
I actually made a hair appointment to chop off the rat tail, as we have so lovingly nicknamed my once luscious mane, for a week ago Friday. But, I was ill and did not have the courage to drive to the salon where I have been getting my hair cut for many years now. I was ill, but I couldn't help feeling that if I actually did cut it off I would be giving in, I would be giving up. It feels like I am being erased. It is so hard to explain. Anyway, one more week of trying hats and hankies and I had enough. I spoke with a kind friend and she said she would do the deed for me. It is so personal, I was so afraid of it. But, after it was over I actually felt better. I am glad I found the courage to just clean it up a bit. She did a great job and gave me a cute little bob that will slowly fall out over the course of the next few months. It fits a lot easier under a hat and a scarf. I wish I would have just bucked up and done it a month ago. I think I may even go shorter if it continues to thin. She mentioned that it may not have been so difficult had the process of the thinning been quicker instead of gradually dragging on for months. The hardest part for me is not knowing if or when it will all just fall out. It's frightening when you comb your hair and handfuls of it fall out. I am quickly learning what people with thinner hair go through, my scalp is not only more visible but extremely sensitive to sunlight and cool weather. I am happy to put a hat or scarf on for the warmth alone. Don't ask a cancer patient what is more important - their hair or their life? We all know the answer to that one. Yet, I don't see any 'hair loss' brochures anywhere for chemo patients. I can't imagine posters with bald women and the words," Lose your hair, gain your life." If that were the case, we would get out the clippers ourselves.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Attitude Adjustment

I have received this one in the mail the old fashioned way as well as in my email... every day it becomes more and more real to me. It's a great example of that mental game we all play with ourselves - attitude.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,looked in the mirror,and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
"Well," she said,"I think I'll braid my hair today."
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and saw
that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said,"I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."
So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.
"Well," she said, "Today I am going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did and she had a fun, fun, day.
The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror and noticed
that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
"Yeah," she exclaimed, "I don't have to fix my hair today!"
Attitude is everything.
Have a wonderful, grand, fun, fun day!
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.

I like this one...

The Secret
One day, one friend asked another,

"How is it that you are always so happy?
You have so much energy,
and you never seem to get down."

image00316.gifWith her eyes smiling, she said,
"I know the Secret!"
"What secret is that?"
To which she replied,
"I'll tell you all about it,
but you have to promise to
share the Secret with others."

image00316.gif"The Secret is this:
I have learned there is little I can do
in my life that will make me truly happy.
I must depend on God to make
me happy and to meet my needs.
When a need arises in my life,
I have to trust God to supply
according to HIS riches.
I have learned most of the time
I don't need half of what I think I do.
He has never let me down.
Since I learned that 'Secret', I am happy."

image00316.gifThe questioner's first thought was,
"That's too simple!"
But upon reflecting over her own life
she recalled how she thought a bigger house
would make her happy, but it didn't!
She thought a better paying job
would make her happy, but it hadn't.
When did she realize her greatest happiness?
Sitting on the floor with her grandchildren,
playing games, eating pizza or reading a story,
a simple gift from God.

Now you know it too!
We can't depend on people to make us happy.
Only GOD in His infinite wisdom can do that.
Trust HIM!
And now I pass the Secret on to you!
So once you get it, what will you do?

image00316.gifYOU have to tell someone the Secret, too!
That GOD in His wisdom will take care of YOU!
But it's not really a secret...
We just have to believe it and do it...
Really trust God!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

What's up doc?

It' s painfully obvious I let the garden go this year. The mums I revived from near death a couple of years ago and they are paying me back with beautiful blooms. Happy Fall!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Dh got tickets to the BIG game today(thanks to an awesome co-worker who was willing to trade and find daycare-thanks :)). He is sitting behind the dugout on the 3rd base line with two of his brothers...about 21 rows up for all you ESPN freaks. More family is sitting further up. Play Ball!

Sadie's death helps save lives

The city finance officer forwarded my email to the county sheriff's office and guess who I just saw pull someone over on my street and give them a ticket? Thank you Sadie for helping save lives.


I am still grieving the death of Sadie and didn't sleep much last night. This morning I sent off an email to our local city office. I pray that something can be done about the speeding vehicles that whiz by my home every day.

Dear City,
In the past eight years we have lived in our home; our house, garage door,
vehicle, and now our beloved family pet have all been victims of speeding
vehicles down the ----- Street hill. The speed limit is clearly posted, as
is a fake (I am assuming) sign saying radar patrolled. Late yesterday
afternoon a large speeding gravel truck struck my dog and killed her. I
believe the truck was speeding and I am thanking the Lord that no children
were trying to cross the corner of ----- and ------ because it was about
after school time and a dozen kids and bicycles use that intersection to get
home. I myself have two children who know not to go near the road, still I
fear for their life when we are working in the garage or the driveway. At
this time I cannot change my driveway but I can ask you to enforce the
speed limit better. Too many children and people use our streets to get from
one place to another, it would be a sad day if a speeding car, truck or semi
trailer met with one. Please let me know how I can help you get the word out
that we have to slow down in town.
Thank you for your time,

Monday, October 02, 2006

SADIE July 1998 - October 2006

These photos were taken by my four year old just a few days ago. Sadie was killed only a few feet from where she stands in the second photo today. A big speeding truck ran her over and just left her there. A neighbor stopped and came into the garage to tell my husband who was using the leaf blower to clean. My dh was crushed. He came into the house and said, "Honey, Sadie is gone. I saw her take her last breath". I never knew how much she meant to me. Just yesterday I was scolding her for coming in the kitchen when my son left the door open. The hardest part was trying to tell the kids. My son kept asking, "when will she be fixed and come back to our house?". My daughter took it well and said, "we will see her in heaven, I guess.". My husband took her body to my mom's and buried her. We have talked about moving out of town for years and letting her run. We hated leaving her in her kennel and when we were home for the day she was almost always out and about, checking on the neighbors and playing with the kids. She was loved and will be missed.

But I saved 29 cents a pound?

This is the third time I have sat down to post and I am still finding I have nothing to say. It is Monday again and I feel the need to ramble incessantly about nothing.
The weekend brought nothing but ill feelings so I am hoping for a much less sick week full of 'feel good' or at least 'feel okay enough' days. The weather was nice enough for me to crawl out of the house for a nephews football game on Saturday. The sun made me queasy and I kept sliding my lawn chair back till I was practically in the trees and couldn't view much of the action anyway. Saturday night despite a couple of invites the whole family was in bed before 830. We ventured out for church early Sunday morning and then I slept until early afternoon. I woke with an insatiable hunger that could not be satisfied no matter what I chose to put in my mouth. It all tastes like aluminum foil.
It is becoming painfully, increasingly clear to me why someone might go crazy or at least become depressed during this time in their life. Each time I try really hard to climb out of the temptation to just give up and quit, but each time it gets a lot harder. I keep asking myself "Why do I have to keep going to chemo? I am better, right?" It would almost be easier on my mental stability if I had waited for that PET scan until late November so I didn't have these thoughts each time I have another treatment. Oh well.
I have been doing a lot of sleeping to pass the time . I wish I could read or do something productive while my butt grows bigger and bigger, but my brain doesn't allow me to rest unless I am sleeping and even then my dreams have been really animated. Last night I was back in high school and I could have sworn it was real. I even smelled the smell of the study hall and felt the plaster walls. Freaky.
Dh is redoing the floor of the boat and has been hard at work gluing his hands and stapling his thumbs to pieces of plywood for two days now. He assures me that this is his last outdoor project and he will get to the trim in the bathroom in no time. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe. Call me crazy, I may just fit the mold on the that one.
I am the woman who has two producing apple trees in her backyard and buys Braeburns because they are on sale uptown. Nuts? We call it normalcy here. I am eating one now, yummy.