Sunday, September 21, 2008

The day can only get better from here!

You know how some mornings you wake up and it's just a shitty day? You have to deal with crap from almost the very moment you crawl out of bed? When things just stink?

Well that's how my day started.

Ginger got into the garbage yesterday. Ginger apparently had a very rough night. There was puppy poop (and we ain't talkin' any solids here) from one end of the laundry room to the other, the walls, the fridge, the door.


The mess was one thing. The smell... WOW. Would you know the air conditioning intake is in the laundry room? The whole house stank. Lenny and I have scrubbed the floor in that room FIVE times so far today. I was lucky enough to pull the first two cleaning shifts (UGH) while he washed the dog.

So by now my sense of smell is deadened. The windows and back door are all open and the fans all on. It's a beautiful morning. The day ahead looks sunny and bright.

By mutual agreement, we skipped breakfast.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Beautiful Fighter

There were two songs that empowered me during my fight with cancer. Ironically they're both on the same album and on the surface have nothing to do with being ill.

The first song is Fighter by Christina Aguilera

Although the song is actually directed at a man, I found some of the words really fit what I was going through at the time…

"''cause if it wasn't for all that you tried to do,
I wouldn't know just how capable I am to pull through
So I wanna say thank you 'cause it
Makes me that much stronger
makes me work a little bit harder
it makes me that much wiser
so thanks for making me a fighter
made me learn a little bit faster
made my skin a little bit thicker
makes me that much smarter
so thanks for making me a fighter"

and at the end of the song…

"but in the end you'll see
I am a fighter and I I ain't gonna stop
There is no turning back
I've had enough"

I think that sums up one way I handled things. It did make me stronger.

One of my chemo buddies, Nancy, once said that you never have time to feel sorry for yourself when you have cancer, because you're always too busy being strong for everyone else. She certainly had a point.

The only time I really had alone to think was in my car. I drive an hour each way to work and back every day.

One of the ways I was able to gauge how I was holding up mentally was how far into the song "Beautiful", by Christina Aguilera I could get.

"Everyday is so wonderful, then suddenly, it's hard to breathe" - really really fitting…

I lost all of my hair during chemo and refused to wear a wig. I wore a nice variety of hats instead… I wasn't going to fool anyone with a wig, not to mention that they're hot, so really why bother?

Well let me tell you, it's not easy being an overweight bald woman. Unfortunately I followed up a pregnancy with chemo and large doses of steroids (that's my story, and I'm sticking to it!). So, if I could manage to sing along with "Beautiful" without disolving in a puddle of tears, I knew I was doing ok.

As time went by, I was able to sing the song and getting to the part of "We are beautiful" made me appreciate that I certainly wasn't the only woman going through this and that I am now part of a Sisterhood of strong, capable fighters. I'm proud of that.

I learned a lot on my journey and like I said, I met the nicest people along the way.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I met the nicest people

I routinely tell people that I feel I had the best possible experience with breast cancer that one could ever hope to have. Typically their head cocks slightly to the side and they ask me why I feel that way. Doctors always seem to be the most curious. I tell them about my story, and always end by telling them that really the biggest thing I took away from my experience was that I met the nicest people, and really I did. If anyone could be bubbly or effervescent about breast cancer, of all things, it would be me. It's almost embarrassing.

However, I do pray quite often that I don't have to do it again. :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh, the love

I recently learned that appearantly every day Angie goes into her room at her Grandparent's house and opens up her photo album. She flips through the pages of pictures of her to the page with a picture of me on it and appearantly proceeds to talk to me periodically throughout the day. This picture to be exact.

Doesn't that just break your heart?

Irony and Religion

Ever notice how irony and religion seem to meet from time to time? Not necessarily in a negative way. Consider the times you've been in church, struggling with a problem, and the pastor starts talking about that very subject. Irony!

Well, how ironic is it that I've received two very different invitations this week? The first came from Wen' who invited me to a Autumn Equinox Celebration. Wen' is a self-proclaimed eclectic Pagan and she's throwing together a pot-luck lunch this Sunday with some crafting and games. Good, clean Pagan fun. Wen' is very Mother Earthy, which is cool.

My second invitation is to join Elizabeth and her family next Sunday for a Children's Festival at her church. This also sounds like a lot of fun, and an opportunity for Angie to meet some other kids and for me to meet Elizabeth's family, especially her Mom. Now, I know Elizabeth's Mom has had 11 children of her own, but I wonder if she'd like to adopt a 12th? Twelve is a nice, even number, right? I'm pretty low maintenance. Elizabeth speaks so highly of her Mom, and tells such wonderful, loving stories about her, that I think she makes up a good 33% of the envy I've mentioned about Elizabeth's family and faith. I know that's how I want my daughter to feel and talk about me when she's grown up. Makes me sad about my relationship with my own mother, I know I don't want that for Angie and I. Anyway, I'm looking forward to it.


I don't have many friends, and I'm ok with that. The people I do consider true friends are pretty special, and really that's what's important. However lately I've found myself in a quandary concerning two friends, or more like potential friends.

The first is a very nice person I met a few weeks ago. I really would like to get to know this person better, so I find myself trying to be outgoing and friendly, inviting her to be my friend, and concerned that I may be coming across too strong in some way. I've been through some tough times myself, and I know she's going through some similar issues, so I want to extend a hand in support and friendship, without being pushy. It's a harder balance than I thought. Not really sure where that stands, but I'm hopeful. I honestly don't have time right now to be a full on, talk on the phone a lot, let's go out all the time, friend right now anyway. I'd be happy with a "Hey, today's National Teddy Bear day, wanna go wander around downtown Glendale for a few hours?" kinda friend who knows it's ok to call me late at night when the scary thoughts creep in and you're staring down your own mortality. One of the things I'm left with from cancer is a strong urge to help others facing the same challenge, and hopefully help them to find the positives in the experience.

My other quandary is another casual friend of mine who I found out is also friends with someone who has caused me to question just what a "hostile work environment" really means. (Sadly, if it's not sexual in nature, no one really seems to care). Ok, so I'm a big enough girl that I can deal with friends who are friends with people I am not friends with. The problem is that Ms. Hostile has helped spread some really nasty, just plain awful rumors about my friend and has many times made disparaging remarks to me about her. So, do I tell my friend that she's friendly with a backstabbing witch? Is it my place to tell her, and would she even believe me or would it just cause me more problems? I find myself wondering if I'm the one with the knife aimed at my back, which is a real shame.

Remember when you were young and friendships were so easy? You know, before "fifth grade" when hormones and boys entered into the picture. Why do some people insist upon bringing that "fifth grade" mentality with them into the workplace?

So thank you to those special people I consider my friends. If I don't tell you enough, I really do appreciate you being in my life and how you enrich it by just being you (and for listening to me when I go off on my tangents.)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Today's Funnies

I recently heard a few things that made me laugh.

A comedian was saying his son was very smart. First day of school he goes in to meet his teacher and she says "Roy. That's a name you don't hear every day!" To which the boy responded "Nope, I hear it every day."

My husband and I were talking about the lack of rain this Monsoon season, he tells me "It's a dry rain".

A recent ad Lenny saw on Craig's List for a motorcycle read "Appearantly when my wife told me to do whatever the f___ I wanted, she didn't mean it".

And I thought books were expensive

I had two assignments this weekend for my information systems class. The first was to review new technologies in input, output and storage systems. Now I want an iPod Nano. In fact I ended my report with "If my husband asks, buying an iPod Nano was part of the assignment. I didn't get one (yet) but I sure am tempted!

The second assignment was to write a memo on the best laptop for a college student. Well I found one that I fell in love with, and after much deliberation I bought it today. I love it! It's an HP Pavilion tx2517d Entertainment Notebook PC. It's one of those small laptops that you can turn the screen around on and use as a tablet pc. It's very cool. Yay me! :)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Funky Shoes and God

Behold my funky new shoes. I love them! Not really what you'd expect from a 37 year old Mom, but when I saw them I just had to get them. I couldn't figure out how to lace them using both grey and black laces, so I laced one shoe with the black and the other with the grey.

I'm striving for quirky. :)

I heard a comedian today who said "I know there's a God, because every once in awhile I hear a voice in my head whisper 'You're my favorite'" I may just have to borrow that line from time to time, it's priceless. The trick is to say it with a perfectly straight face.

Elizabeth gave me a really sweet letter today and some information about her faith. Lenny and I keep saying we're going to find a church, but Sundays come and go and we just never seem to make it. It's important to me that we raise Angie with faith in God. However, Lenny and I are both recovering Catholics. In the newspaper today they had a listing of local churches and I remarked to him "you don't know if they're scary until you go to them" and he agreed. What, scary churches? Oh but yes, there are some. And once you feel burned by a religion, you tend to want to dip your toes back in slowly. I need to ask Elizabeth some more questions about her faith. She's a model of someone who is so happy with their faith that she glows with it. I'm glad to see that, and a little envious. Over the years I've sort of determined what I believe in and discarded the things I don't. Overall I believe I have a good relationship with God, but realize that for Angie to get to where I'm at we'll need spiritual help.

Maybe I'll revisit my idea to ask Elizabeth to be Angie's Godfather. Co-Godmother?

Angie was Baptised before Stephanie's wedding, with Steph being her Godmother. And Angie's on the right track, she brings me her Children's Bible Stories book to read to her, but there's no flaps for her to open in it, so she doesn't sit still for long. We're up to Finding a Bride for Issac. It does me good to read them too.

The Storm

Last night a big storm rolled in, unfortunately it didn't bring any rain, but for awhile the wind was really blowing! The power also went out for about four hours.

No power, no internet, no computer drive Lenny a little batty, but I find the quiet darkness rather soothing and relaxing. Angie even seemed excited about the weather and kept looking out the window and letting the breeze blow through her hair.

After Angie went to sleep, Lenny and I lit a whole bunch of candles and played Rummikub (a board game). I think it was the nicest evening I've spent in awhile.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A few of my favorite things

One of my classes this semester is Principles of Information Systems. Part of the class requirements are to post on a discussion forum in response to the teacher's questions and in response to your fellow classmate's posts. It's actually pretty interesting.

Tonight it made me realize that some of my fondest memories have to do with computers. I'm such a geek! A small part of me still misses my old Commodore 64 and the games I had for it. Despite the fact that today's games are so much more advanced, most of my absolute favorite games came out 10 or more years ago... Kings Quest, Ultima, Little Computer People, Leisure Suit Larry, Leather Goddesses of Phobos (and that was an all text game!), Dungeon Keeper, Fallout... the list goes on. Good times.

I don't have much time for games these days, but I do miss them. When Lenny and I were dating we'd spend hours, HOURS on the computer playing video games together. It's actually one of the things that brought us together as a couple. Hence the two geeks in love concept. :)

Random thought of the day... I bought an air freshener for my car that's in the shape of the breast cancer ribbon. When I opened it and sniffed it Lenny asked "so, does it smell like breast cancer?" LOL, he's such a nerd. Actually it smells like vanilla. :)
Above, behold my old geeky self! That picture is about 8 years old!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Of all the things I read when I was pregnant, and since Angie has been born, I can think of one that mattered the most. It was so simple and random, a blurb really at the bottom of one of the e-mails I receive. It was a note from a mother that said "Every time the baby cries and just wants to be held, I think to myself that before I know it she'll be pushing me away when I try to hold her and running off to play." Lenny would tell me that I was spoiling Angie by holding her when she cried, but I didn't care. I kept thinking about that statement and how true it would prove to be. Besides, you can't spoil a child with too much love.

At 14 1/2 months, we're now at the point where snuggling with Mom isn't a top priority anymore, but every chance I get I hug her tight and kiss her chubby little cheeks. Sometimes when I'm in bed for the night I miss her so much, even though she's only in the other room. I'd probably let her sleep with us some nights if she wasn't a horrible bed hog... you lose that snuggling feeling at 2 a.m. when you wake up because you were kicked in the head, are clinging to 2" of bed and there's a diaper pressed to your forehead. If she wakes up in the middle of the night I usually snuggle with her on the couch and put her back to bed once she settles down.

But the very best thing is when she's playing and she stops and looks up at me and comes rushing over to give me a hug. It's one of the best feelings in the world. Don't worry, she can't spoil me with too much love.


Special thanks to Elizabeth for making my new and improved blog titlebar!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Parental Guidance Suggested

Warning: Today's blog's content may be disturbing and totally freak most men out.

If I've learned one thing about kids, it's that your life becomes all about distraction. The baby's crying, distract her! The child is tugging at you when you're working on homework, distract her!

So anytime you find something that will distract said child when she's fighting you to change her diaper, you're grateful!

Enter the tampon. Now every girl develops an obsession with tampons at some point in her life. It goes hand in hand with the whole "I'm a woman now!" thing that was exciting when we started hearing about it around 8 years old, and after it happened soon lost its luster as we realized it was just a messy, painful inconvenience. (yeah yeah, I get the whole portal of humanity concept, but still)

So Angie found a box of tampons under my sink and excitedly will grab a handful of them and parade around the house. It's very cute and funny to me, but freaks my husband out. One of them ended up in her room and I use it to distract her when changing her diaper - which is often a battle. Poor Lenny walked in the other day to see her playing with it and was all upset. It's still safely in its wrapper and really, it's sterile, or at least was before Monster Baby got a hold of it.

Here's a wonderful article about Elizabeth's brother and sister-in-law. Makes me look at my blog and cringe :)

I have blog-envy.

Stephanie Nielson aka NieNie sure did splash in a lot of puddles.

The article made me think about how NieNie's story was interrupted, but is now being retold across the media in such a positive light. God forbid something happen to me and this blog be my legacy, what a challenge the NY Times will have putting an inspirational spin on my tampon-toting baby story!

And I can just hear teenage-Angie now... MoooOooooMMM!!

hehe :)

Hot Wings and Pizza!

I've been on Weight Watchers for 8 weeks now and I've lost more than 10% of my bodyweight! Unfortunately I've also developed either a bum gal bladder or an ulcer - I'm still waiting to hear exactly what the problem is. The good news is I'm still losing weight. The bad news is that I'm still losing weight because I either can't hold my food down or I'm afraid to eat.
The doctor told me to lay off the diet for a few days and avoid citrus. For those of you who have done WW, it's fruit and vegetable intensive. So yesterday, remember under doctor's orders now, I laid off the diet and avoided citrus by pigging out on hot wings and pizza. YUM! I paid for it later, of course, with an upset stomach, but at least I enjoyed it!
The power of really good wings is sorely underrated!

Monday, September 1, 2008

An unexpected insight

After posting about my little world, I poked my head out to see what's going on with others. I've taken up reading c jane's blog for two reasons. First, I find her blog to be heartwarming, funny, interesting and often inspirational. Secondly, because the family that she's connected to through her brother-in-law inspires me. I work with her brother-in-law's sister, Elizabeth, and count myself among her biggest fans. Elizabeth and her family make me regret not having siblings growing up. I find them fascinating.

So anyway, back to my poking around. In today's post, c jane referred to her theory regarding the soul. Jotting off to read it might put the rest of my blog into perspective.

I still think about the baby I lost almost two years ago, not often, but sometimes. After reading c jane's theory today, it got me thinking again. Angelina had a name and I'd dreamt of her for more than two years before she made an entrance into this world. After a year and a half of trying, we finally got pregnant. At 7 weeks I started to bleed and we finally discovered I had a tubal pregnancy. Oddly, I had almost expected it. I had dubbed the baby "peanut" and losing it had broken my heart. For weeks afterwards I would cry and tell my husband that I was broken.

Amazingly, six weeks later I was pregnant again. I swear I held my breath for the entire pregnancy, just praying she'd be born healthy and whole. So, what difference would six short weeks make in Angelina's, or my body's or God's plans? The timing of Angie's birth is really incredible, and c jane's story pointed out something I hadn't even thought of before. Waiting just six weeks longer may have saved my life.

I was 36 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. As it was, I almost didn't tell my doctor about the lump I found one morning in the shower. If I'd been nursing a four week old, there's a pretty good chance I wouldn't even have found it. Milk-engorged, sore breasts don't inspire self-exams.

I'm not really sure if Angie was sent to save my life, or if the cancer was sent to save hers. It doesn't really matter, it worked out both ways and I'm thankful.

Realizing what those six weeks might have meant helps me put the residual sadness about "peanut" behind me.

Maybe the answer to the question about when life begins is as simple as a children's story. Perhaps we're not real until someone loves us, just like in the Velveteen Rabbit.

I are a college student!

Well it's official, I'm now a college student again. How does that make me feel? Nervous as Hell.

I'm glad that classes started for me on a holiday, so I could get in and look around at my leisure. I may have to make a point to take the first day of class off until I'm done with school, just so I can get started on the right foot. I did the math and if I can get most of my transferred credits to count towards my degree, I think I'm looking at about 2 1/2 years. If I do well, my employer will pay for almost all of it. It's a big commitment to myself, to my family and to them as well. I pray I do well.

Things around the house are chaotic. Angie was mugged this morning, poor kid. She was innocently walking through the living room when the puppy zoomed up behind her, knocked her down and stole her binkey. I confess that I laughed - a lot actually. I had to chase Ginger around the house to get it back. Not the only time I've had to chase her around today, nor the last. Angie handles it very well, I'm so blessed to have such a laid back child. Ginger has knocked her down several times now and stolen things from her, including kisses. I'm certain they'll be co-conspirators in crime as they grow up together. Lord help me.