Friday, January 28, 2011

Unexpected gifts

They say it is better to give than to receive, and I wholeheartedly agree. Last week was a good mail week for me; I got three gifts, completely unexpected. I still feel very special thinking about them!
The first gift came from an old high school friend of mine named Cindi. I haven't seen her in over 25 years, but comment almost daily on her Facebook page. She sent me this adorable boxing glove, as a reminder to kick cancer's ass. I love it. Totally love it. I wear it every day and smile when I look down and see it there on my shirt. It's awesome.
The second gift was from my favorite blogger friend Jen. She sent me a delicious box of Gearhart's chocolates (which I am not sharing with anyone thankyouverymuch), a pound of my favorite coffee, and her favorite accessory: Wilma beads. That's right...we're bringing Flintstone style back. I giggled like crazy. I wore them the other day...they are heavy on my neck but in the good kind of way. I touched them a lot. (all of this makes Bart crazy, because several years ago he bought me a nice set of real pearls. I have never worn them.)
The third gift came from my Aunt Cindy. It's a painting she did of Evan & Lola in Temagami this summer. The image is from a favorite memory of hers during our visit, with the kids laying on the floor playing cards and Lola curled up on Evan's rear. She perfectly captured the glint in Lola's eye, the way she sticks her leg off to the side. Evan's hair and legs...amazing. I will always treasure this perfect capture.
Thanks friends, for making me feel extra special and loved!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

what a difference a year makes

Yesterday Emma had an ortho appointment, and it got me to thinking about how it's been a year since she got her braces. So I wanted to take a quick pic of her to compare and contrast so that I could see the changes. So she could see the changes.
Holy crap! My baby doesn't look like this anymore:

This is what she looks like!
Much longer hair, badly in need of a haircut. I couldn't talk her into the cute cut she had a year ago. Her face is leaner. She looks more mature. And her teeth have really come a long way.

Yesterday they added a 'power chain', a thicker wire, and rubber bands. She was not happy in the least. I expect that she is going to be drinking a lot of meals in the next few days.
I was just surprised to see such a difference in her, since I look at her every day and don't see it, not like that. Wow.
My baby is becoming a woman!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

week one, done!

Today marks one week since I began radiation therapy.
The treatments are going well...they take hardly any time at all (that is, unless they want to do a bunch of films. Why they need to take so many films is beyond me. I'm sure by the time I'm finished there will be a whole drawer of stuff just about me) and the biggest part of my time is spent driving to and from the cancer center.
My techs are really nice and always greet me with big smiles.
The radiation itself is completely painless. I am starting to experience some of the side effects. My skin looks like it has a slight sunburn and feels a bit tight. I've also had some hard-to-describe pain. It could be from the internal healing and scar tissue. It could be from my monthly cycle. It could be from the radiation. I know that no matter what I do and how careful I am, some of it is to be expected. After all, I have to wear my breasts all day. They are going to bump into things and whatnot. I have to learn to not flop over at night. That's my worst habit.
So, only 5 more weeks to go!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Getting radiation is just like going to the tanning booth

Except I am laying on my stomach in a weird position
and I didn't put on any suntan lotion
and my arms are numb from holding them over my head
and I'm not wearing funny goggles
and there isn't a fan blowing warm air over me
and my skin isn't golden brown.

Turns out radiation is nothing like going to the tanning booth.
1 down, 29 to go.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

FO-Hats aplenty!

Like most people, I don't have enough to do right before the holidays, so I thought it would be a great idea to knit a bunch of hats! Hats are a great thing to make because they are usually quick and easy, use little yarn, and everyone I know needs one (at least)!
I didn't include any links. Too lazy. If you really are dying to know what the pattern or yarn is, email and I will answer for you.
I made this for Emma knowing that she was getting a navy blue coat for Christmas. The blue isn't really navy, but it's cute and she likes it. She wore it non-stop during the break.
She's cute, no?
This is a slouchy alpaca beret I made for my SIL Tracey. It's superduper soft and a nice heather grey, something I thought would match with anything.
I made this Christmas hat for my nephew Max. I didn't take a pic with the huge pom on the end, nor did I get a pic of him wearing it. He looks ridiculously adorable in it.
This one I knit for my SIL Shannon (shhh...I haven't given it to her yet). It is very thicky and stretchy and cozy. Perfect for Canada winters,

And this one I made for Jen, my blogger bud, for running. She was bemoaning her lack of running gear that was warm, So I whipped up this lil cutie and stitched in a fleece liner.
That about covers it! Ha covers it! I kill me!

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Florida Christmas

I didn't mean to go this long without blogging about our trip to Florida pre-Christmas...time just got away from me! (And I hadn't gone through iPhoto and deleted the photos I didn't need so I had no idea really what I had in there.)
Travelling during the holidays was really great. It forced me to be organized and get everything done before we stepped foot into the airport. Good. It did feel weird to not have any last minute shopping to do, and it was annoying that everyone else did! No strolling thru our favorite malls just for fun...they were crowded!
At the terminal super early. Like 90 minutes early. We expected long security lines but were through in less than 10 minutes. Instead we shopped and ate at a Coney Island. Lots of good stores in the new terminal. They even have a pet store!
The entire family and their electronic devices. Ahhh, technology!
We arrived at the apartment a little after midnight. Dad & Carol had decorated for us with a small tree and our stockings! It was a really great surprise. Made it feel Christmasy.

Sunsets are hard to catch from the apartment...this was our first night. The whole day had been crummy; cold, breezy, no sun at all.
We went out to dinner for our 17th anniversary on Saturday night. This night also began Evan's reign of terror for the remainder of the vacation. 11 year olds are not fit human company.
Think it was a little windy? Check out the waves!

The kids & Bart also took turns riding in my dad's ocean kayak. Evan got flipped coming back over the surf and the kayak crashed into his head and back. Needless to say he didn't ride it again. He also didn't come out of the apartment for 24 hours.

Emma & I went down to the beach several times a day. The water was cold but we still went in. The third day at low tide the pools started to form. I love when it does that. The shelling is great and the water trickling past looks like spun gold. Very cool.

We spent one evening driving around looking at Christmas displays, mostly in Las Olas. It's really hard to photograph them at night, in a moving car without them being totally blurry. These were a few of my favorites.
Sharing a big bowl of mussels at Southport Raw Bar. Emma won't touch them, but Evan can eat an entire order by himself.
The very first year we took both kids, I got a shot of them at this railing. We try to re-create it. but both would have nothing to do with it. I just love this age.
Hello fattie!
All in all, it was a very nice vacation. We had more sun than clouds. We ate good food. We relaxed. We swam. We body surfed. We got sand in unmentionable places. And then we got to come home and celebrate Christmas!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Let the radiation begin!

Today was radiation oncologist day.
The results were as expected...6 weeks of radiation 5 days a week, followed by 5 years of Tamoxifen. I've heard nothing but good things about the treatment, so I am optimistic that it will go smoothly and the side effects will be minimal.
By the way, I loved the radiation oncologist. I wish I had seen her first. She sat directly in front of me and talked to me in a level tone never taking her eyes off me. She explained things in very simple to understand terms. She answered any questions I had before I had time to form them. I just got a good 'vibe' from her.
Tomorrow I return for a baseline mammogram. They check for any calcification remnants (which is the thing that tipped off the radiologist...calcification occurs naturally in your body as a result of cell death, but when it shows up in the breast it can mean that there is rapid growth of other cells. Bad cells. I learned something today!) so they will know what the post-surgery tissue looks like. Then on Thursday I go in for a full body CT scan. This is to measure every part of my body and to mark where the radiation will occur. She'll give me 2 'tattoos' to mark the spots. Hopefully a week later I can begin the radiation.
The one part of this whole ordeal that really sucks is that I have to have my miracle IUD removed. IUD risk of blood clots + Tamoxifen risk of blood clots= too much risk. I am bummed out beyond belief. I had more than 4 years left on it, and we payed for it out of pocket. and did I mention it was a miracle worker? My next option is hysterectomy. Grr. Not ready or wanting to deal with that now. One step at a time.
That's all for now!