Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Personal Journal #2

I originall wrote this note on Facebook, April 13, 2011. Since I've had an exceptionally good day, I thought I'd try to update this blog a bit. I even managed to work on three scrap pages about my son's fourth birthday ten days ago! My little family has been blessed in a hundred different ways in the past few weeks. Monetarily, we won't have to worry about medical bills for a little while -- awesome! There are hundreds of people praying and/or keeping in touch daily. I have so much support..... I hope everyone knows exactly how much I appreciate all the little things each day. It's just astounding!

I was given an extra week off of chemo to get rid of some side effects, and it seems to be working. It also means I hope to post at least one of the pages I've been working on; maybe even a project page. I thought I'd create my own album of things that make me happy/keep me going/I want to accomplish. I plan on continuing to live in every meaning of the word. For now, here's the post:

This post might be short. It might also be disjointed. My homebound day of chemo has given me the yucks.... But I keep thinking of Aunt Carol.

Aunt Carol lived a long life. I admit, we all would have loved to see her live another 25-30 years. She lived long enough to become a teacher, a wife, a mother, an aunt, a grandmother, a great-aunt, a protector, a cheerleader, a cook book writer....She's another in my family who started with one cancer, only to develop a second; but I'm going to wriggle my two toes in De Nile cuz I don't need to go there.

She was also the only person on this rock who got away with calling me, "Annie." I don't know why. She was Aunt Carol. She got to call me Annie. Anyone else was glared at or otherwise corrected. Maybe it was my fascination with her hair. She knew how to work her hair!

I always looked forward to the insanely long drive to Vermillion to see Aunt Carol, Uncle Leroy and their three beautiful kids. To be clear, I also looked forward to seeing my Uncle Tom, Aunt Pat and their crazy-fun five children. Vermillion always rocked, but I digress.

I stated earlier, I have the yucks today. Each time I've been tempted to fall into it and host a pity party I hear, "Now, Annie, is this really what you want to do? Isn't there something else more fun you'd rather try?" Yes, Aunt Carol, for you, today, I will try. I'll even be a good girl and nibble on my banana bread.

In addition to living for Aunt Carol, I thought I'd share a bit from yesterday. Baby's First Chemo, if you will. For the first 2 1/2 hours everything was awesome. I was cocky. Sally hooked me up. I looked at my lap and yelled, "Die! Die! Die you worthless scum!" Because, you know, cancer may not have a brain, but can evidently follow direction; even if it means it's own demise. After the first couple hours, my tongue wouldn't form all the sounds it should. Nor would my body stop making small twitches and muscle spasms. My right arm wasn't sure about this whole put-hand-under-soap-dispenser-and-wash concept. For several hours yesterday, I was not invincible. I hated it; but at least I know now. Today, I'm currently just yucky in the tummy and so very tired. After this, I doubt I'll be very social and I'm okay with that. I'm telling myself I'll be ready to rock with my 11 days off soon. Just get through today.

And on that note, see ya!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Peronsal Journal on my current journey #1

I originally published this as a note on Facebook, April 12, 2011. I read it to my parents later that evening. My Dad informed me that I should keep writing these journal pieces and publish them someday. It's a thought; but for now I'm just going to try to share the updates here as well as on Facebook. It might not be crafty, but it will help to keep some of the crafty people I care about in the loop as well.


Evidently, I woke before the roosters today. My head is still trying to sort out yesterday's events. Perrin isn't yet awake and I'm not yet ready to shower. Seems like a good time to sit still and type.

It occurred to me recently that I know of enough people who have fought cancer, ARE fighting cancer, or lost the fight with cancer to dedicate every day of my chemotherapy to one of them. Yowsas on that little detail alone; I'm actually going to try. The very first person I thought to dedicate -- translation: draw strength and inspiration from -- is my cousin Marcus. Marcus was about my age when he fought cancer. Like me, he was hit with cancer in more than one location. I don't doubt that he got kinda pissed about that, but I know from whence he came. I know he was a fighter. I also know that he loved. He's a Dryfuse, so he probably laughed, too. I've told myself that he had more than a few chats with God and whoever else he wanted to talk to. He was family. He was young. It was so fucking unfair. Today, I have to believe that the science has improved in the last ten years so for him, today, I'm going to fight with everything I have.

Speaking of my fight, it might be good to note this now. I'm purposely going into treatment with two toes dipped into De Nile river at all times. The other eight toes are well aware of how serious things are. I'm not a complete fool. I just really need that little bit of denial to house my sense of humor and create a happy place I can visit when things start to feel like too much for me. When I say things like, "Dude! It's just cancer," I'm not trying to live a lie. I'm trying to remember that I can be so much more than these stupid little wonky cells could ever hope for. I have a brain. I have a heart. I've known love, courage, respect and laughter. I've tasted ice cream. I've heard the melody in a child's laughter. I've been surprised by the profound things that children have said. I've known the warmth of the sun and softness of grass under running feet. I've known the goofiness of dogs and freaky ways of cats. I've watched a Jesus lizard run across a hotel pool in Costa Rica. I've felt the magic pulsing in New Orleans. I've felt the teenage angst pains at my dad's jokes. I am human. I am alive. I've lived and plan on doing a whole lot more. These silly little cancer cells. All they've done is multiply and become highly inconvenient. They don't have a brain to plot and plan, they just do. They are not a higher power. They do not have my permission to take my life and today, some of them will begin to die.

I last wrote that I was starting chemo on Monday (yesterday); and that was pretty much true. I learned after writing, that it was my orientation day. It was a good orientation, too. Sally gave me loads of information and started me along on my collection of 64 prescriptions I'd be carrying around and/or collecting for this fight. I'm still a little confused on what does what and/or goes where because the names on the bottles don't perfectly match the names on my paper. I think what I have now are my anti-nausea meds that I can take AFTER each 3-day round of chemo ends. I'll double check when I go back in today. Medicine and confusion are just not a good blend.

Going in today, it will be my official first day of chemotherapy. I'll be there just about all day long. Wednesday, I'll do chemo at home and Thursday I'll go back to the office for the final doses; then off for 11 days. One of those 11 days will be Perrin's birthday. For now, we're going low key with cake and ice cream at our digs -- hence the cleaning crew yesterday -- with the hopes of a bigger party at a later time.

.....Aaannnnd my train of thought derailed. It's time for a shower and a forced breakfast. The next two hours will go pretty crazy fast in my home.

See ya!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Dealio

Good Saturday Morning! Granted, we might get some storms, soon, but I'll consider it good as long as I'm here to enjoy it....And on that cue, evidently I don't want to spend a lot of time today trying to build up to some important personal information I wanted to share.

If you need a moment to brace yourself, go ahead and take it. It's not like I'm about to say I won a billion dollars from a lottery ticket. In my weird way, I'd say it's actually better news, but that's more in a personal growth kind of way.

Okay, moment taken?


Alright, I'm posting this information on my crafty blog because I've noticed that many crafter I appreciate -- and more importantly have begun to form a connection with -- read my blog. It seems smarter to post here then go to several other sites and post individually there.

This past Tuesday, I was diagnosed with Cancer. Yes, I'm 34 years old; wife to one amazing Rock of Gibraltar; mother to a nearly-4-year-old boy and I have cancer. I won't go into which kind because that doesn't matter. I won't go into the stage because that doesn't matter....to me.

I start chemo on Monday afternoon to shrink the tumor so the removal will be easier in a few months. As twists of fate go, one of my closest friends will be administering my chemo treatments. I've been blessed.

I won't lie to anyone or myself. I'll be up and down for the next few months. I won't apologize for not posting scrapbook pages or having Friday Finds. I honestly don't think anyone would expect me to, either. Most crafters I've met have really good heads on their shoulders and understand priorities; so I'm cool with all this.

I have one obligation that will be easy to create and fulfill. It might not make it to my blog, but if it does, know that it was a really healthy day.

For now, I'm going to go back to researching what I can do to be proactive in all of this. Sorry to lay it on you, but know that I have no intentions of leaving this rock any time soon. I'm a fighter and I want to live.