Friday, March 28, 2008
I can't believe I would ever use the word delicious to describe sleep, but that is how it feels, when I get it, which isn't often--or a least consistent. Today I got a few hours thanks to my aunt Robin who is visiting from LA. She has two kids and says she had them sleeping 10 hours a night by the time they were Sadie's age. So, today at my house we practiced some new techniques on Sadie. One of them is to not sleep with her in my arms which is what I usually do. This means that during her daytime naps I am confined to the couch watching bad daytime TV and at night I am precariously perched at the edge of the bed in a self induced light sleep always aware I have an infant snuggled in my arms making little snorting cooing noises.
Today we put her in her crib to sleep and I had to listen to her cry for at least a half an hour. I have never let her cry that long. Thankfully Robin was here to distract me and lo and behold, the baby fell asleep! And then guess what? I did too. I crawled into bed and conked out. That's not all--we are on a roll here. I am determined to get a routine down so I took Sadie on a walk in the cool drizzly air (totally bundled up of course) with Frida and when we got back, I gave her a warm sponge bath, a warm bottle, bundled her in this crazy zipper sleeper contraption and popped a pacifier in her mouth. Yes, she fussed. But guess what? It's been exactly one hour and 3 minutes and we haven't heard a peep out of her. I am determined to make this a nightly routine. Walk, bath, bottle, bed. The funny thing is, I miss her. I just went on our iphoto folder to look at pictures of her because I miss her face.
This lack of sleep has really been bad. It means I am cranky and on edge. Everything bugs me. It's like perpetual PMS. Greg left an almost full can of formula (we use the prepared kind that's milk based and can go bad. It's sort of expensive) out on the counter and couldn't remember for how long (because he is exhausted) and I swear I felt it was grounds for divorce. Also, everyone tells me that the body heals during sleep. So here I am, undergoing chemotherapy treatments that knock me out and I am not getting the sleep I need to heal. This knowledge only makes me more stressed, more cranky and on edge. But today, I realized I am being my own worst enemy by letting this baby sleep in my arms all the time and in our bed. When she is cuddled up next to me at night she smells me, knows I am there and so of course wakes up every two hours for a bottle. Why wouldn't she--I have trained her to!
So, I am going to bed now armed with my my new book Good Night Sleep Tight by the Sleep Lady my Aunt Karen bought me. It apparently has even more tips and solutions to my sleep deprived problems. I'll be back to my old self soon. Speaking old self. That's her above. Just me, all my hair and my dog. Sleeping. Sweet long hours of endless yummy delicious sleep.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Today I went to my cousin Taylor's memorial service. There had to have been at least 300 people there. The saddest thing is to lose a child and I was amazed at my cousin Michael's (her dad) strength as he listened to the Rabbi read the eulogy he had written for her. I was amazed that he could have written it all. How do you condense a daughter's life down to a few pages? How do you sit at a computer key board and type out words to communicate all that she was in life? How do you form those sentences? She was so young, so full of life and potential. I realize, when someone dies that young you miss not only the girl she was, but the woman she would have been. I suppose when someone older dies, you tell yourself they are in a better place, without pain. But when someone young is taken, there is no rationalization. There is no explanation. My heart goes out to Michael for showing such strength in putting those important words down on paper so beautifully. Hearing them brought a lot of smiles and tears to everyone in the room and we left with a greater understanding of who Taylor was--something we will all carry with us forever.
Growing up I felt I came from and had a big family. I had my sisters, my mom, my dad, an aunt, grandmother, step-grandfather, uncle and some cousins that I saw fairly regularly--summer time BBQs, birthday parties--stuff like that. And then I had this bigger group that I saw only on holidays or small picnic family reunions my Aunt Robin would organize. These were the second cousins, great uncles, great aunts, the twice-removed people. But still, family. For some reason, over the last ten to fifteen years, I felt like this group has dwindled. Partly because people die. Partly because one of the people who died was my mom of breast cancer in 2000. She was the connection; the glue that sort of kept it all together. While I was standing, bouncing Sadie to keep her asleep during the service, I looked around and saw my family and realized this group is still very large and has only dwindled in my life because it takes work to keep it together. It takes phone calls and planning. It takes a commitment to care about something other than what is right in front of you and this is hard. At least it's hard for me. Sometimes you can only do what is right in front of you--so if someone moves far away, or it's been years and the phone call feels random and strange, you don't make the effort. I guess because now I have this baby--this baby Sadie--I am thinking even more about family. I am thinking about what kind of family she will have. I am thinking about how some of my best memories are the Christmas' that my Aunt and her family would trek over to our house in San Anselmo from Larkspur with all their presents so we could open up the gifts together, eat breakfast together and then later cook Christmas dinner together. Or the Thanksgivings at her house where we would torture any outside boyfriend, girlfriend or without- family-that-year-guest with our parlor game of 'Picnic' and 'Crossed or Uncrossed'. Both of these games were purposefully designed to make the people not in the know feel even more like outsiders--yes we had that kind of family. I am also thinking about how learning about the history and hearing the stories of my family sometimes helps me make sense of who I am, who my parents are and why we do the things we do. It makes me sad to think of how many stories die with the people who are the only ones who can tell them.
As much as I feel sincere in writing this, I can't be sure I will be able to do the work. At the memorial we all exclaimed how sad it was that it takes a something so sad, like a death to bring the 'family' together. But the truth is, we are all comfortable with what we are surrounded by most often. So, until we do the work, until we commit to seeing each other more often, the comfort level won't be there. I suppose the simplest way to explain it is to say it's the difference between visiting and hanging out. Either way--whatever happens--it was good to see everyone today. Their faces hold my past, my history, my stories. Maybe we won't see each other again until a wedding or a death. I just hope we see each other again.
1. My Great Uncle Al and his girlfriend Jean and Me. Uncle Al is my Grandmother's brother. I think he is the oldest relative I have. Can you tell by his face he is a total character?
2. My cousin Michael with Sadie. This is Taylor's dad. I cannot imagine the pain he is going through.
3. My cousin Judy. Judy is Michael's mom and Taylor's Grandmother. She is my Grandmother's first cousin.
4. Me, my sisters, Sadie and my first cousin Whitney.
5. Me, my cousin Jennifer, her husband and my cousin Alexander and of course Sadie. This is where it gets mind boggling complicated. I guess the simplest way to explain it is Jennifer is my grandmother's first cousin's (Jack) daughter. Alexander is her sister's son. I am sure there is a twice removed in there, but really, cousin is good enough.
6. My Aunt Robin. Robin is my mom's younger sister...and of course SADIE. The poster behind her was done by my great grandfather.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Had chemo last Thursday. My Aunt Karen (again visiting from New York--great timing) took me because Greg is sick. Hannah also showed up because she had a break in clients (she colors hair at DiPietro Todd Salon in SF--but that's just what she does for a living. She is oh so much more than that. Mainly she is my Sunday night savior).
Appointment was kind of rough emotionally. My tumor hasn't shrunk with this new Taxol drug. It has stayed at 1.5 cm and seems to like it there. So Hope (my oncologist) added a second chemo drug to my treatment along with the Taxol. Another bag going through the IV. Another hour. Drip. Drip. Hope's reason for adding this drug (called Carboplatin by the way) is that I only have one chance to get cured of this cancer. She wants to see the tumor completely gone even though I am going to have surgery to remove both my breasts. I think the thinking is that eradicating this tumor in my breast means that any little cancer satellite cells that may be lingering in my body waiting to wreak future havoc will also be gone--whereas if the tumor is still around--then maybe those cells are too. I suppose I could have asked her this question--if this logic is correct--but I got all tongue tied when she told me that if my breast cancer comes back, it's considered incurable. Incurable cancer. I just live with it until it kills me. Not a nice thought.
Then as she was leaving the exam room trailed by an intern (with really cold hands by the way--yes, they all like to touch my tumor) I mentioned I had one treatment left after that day and the last words out of her mouth as she shut the door were 'maybe....'. So, I think this means if the Carboplatin doesn't work, my last day may not be April 3rd as I had hoped. Which means my surgery may not be May 6th as I had also hoped. But, again. Whatever. I would rather kill this little stubborn sucker of a tumor and be bald all summer than ever hear that my breast cancer came back.
Speaking of being bald. Getting really sick of it. My Aunts have been awesome in getting me some good hats I feel good in. Wearing them in the pictures above. See what I mean? Simple. Not too Beret French looking. Not too English lady at a Polo match either (not that there is anything wrong with looking like an English lady Gill and Katie!). I have this hat in brown, black and cream and then was in Mill Valley yesterday with my sisters, the babies and Nina's friend Leslie and found the Mill Valley Hat Shop which sold them in green, blue, lavender, navy and white. So I added to my collection. Yeah for hats that aren't annoying!
In other news--Greg has pneumonia. Such a nightmare. So, it's been all me with the baby since we are both freaked out by the idea of her getting sick. I think he got a basic flu from a workmate but since we both don't get any sleep (oh yes, she is still up every two hours for a bottle and a cuddle) our immune systems are down, hence the pneumonia infection. It's some sort of miracle I am not sick too (well, sick with pneumonia) since I have a pretty compromised immune system. He sleeps on the couch and I steer fairly clear of him which sort of sucks for him since I think he would like a bottle and a cuddle too. Poor guy.
And finally, the saddest news of all. I lost a family member last week. My third cousin Taylor Lynn Cohen. She was an amazing little lady. Full of personality. I only wish we had been closer. I suppose I thought I had more time to get to know her. To be closer. It's the biggest tragedy.
It feels weird mentioning this in my blog. But I would feel weirder if I didn't as it really puts everything in perspective for me in a very powerful way.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
I had a busy weekend. It started with Friday's adventure to San Anselmo where I met my friend Cathy for lunch at Comforts. Comforts is this really yummy cafe/restaurant and on Friday it was jammed. Right when I walked in, I ran in to an old friend Leah (who by the way runs this amazing website Tiny McSmalls) at the deli counter. I think it took her a moment to recognize me. I guess my hair defined me more than I thought. This is the second time this has happened. Yesterday I went to Target with my friend Amber and right out front we ran in to an old work friend who had a baby almost a year ago and never came back from maternity leave. I hadn't seen her in quite a while. I called her name and she looked right through me. It was weird. Not sure she knew about the cancer. She didn't say anything and we just stuck to pleasantries and all that. All in all, I guess the more I get out, the more this kind of thing will happen. I still feel so much the same inside but do realize I present a different outside figure than the usual. So anyway, at Comforts, the first thing I do after Cathy shows up and we secure a table is to go to the bathroom and change Sadie because she was making the little scrunchy wet diapie face. I'm all prepared with my fancy diaper bag in tow with the knowledge that the bathrooms at Comforts have these little antique pine tables in them, perfect for changing a baby. Everything is going great until I go to grab a new diaper and realize I didn't pack them. I took them out when reorganizing and never put them back in. I think I broke in to cold sweat. I had to go in to the garbage, take out her old diaper and put it back on her. I felt like the worst mother in the world! Would if her diaper had had poop in it?! I would have had to stuff her onsie with paper towels. How terrible was it for Sadie to have a cold wet diaper put back on her clean little bottom? Poor thing couldn't tell me. Cathy ran down to the local drug store and bought me a pack of diapers so all in all, the worst thing that happened is my motherhood confidence was a little shaken. I told Leah what happened and she said she always keeps a bag of diapers and wipes in her car for such emergencies. Hindsight is always 20/20.
Saturday two friends from work, Karla and Traci, visited me and brought yummy food, lots of stories and laughs. Then the Nina, Dan and Amara show arrived and we did our usual Saturday routine--food, movie, diapers, bottles, dog walking, etc.
Today my Aunt and her partner Sara came out to West Marin and we had breakfast at the Two Bird Cafe. My cousins Whitney and Patricia came over aftewards and we visited for awhile. Well, at least everyone visited and I used the opportunity to putter about my house and organize things and do laundry while Sadie slept in someone else's arms. It's funny how these things become a pleasure to do because it's rare I can just do a sink full of dishes uninterrupted or three loads of laundry or go through all my mail at once. These stupid little chores are like exotic activities compared to how I usually spend my day. I need to get Sadie used to sleeping somewhere else besides my arms--maybe I'll work on that next month--she's just too cute right now to try any harder than I already am, which isn't at all!
The only other big news is that spring has finally sprung out here in West Marin--thank God. All the cherry trees are in bloom and our yard is covered in little white petals. Looks like it snowed. Most of our plants we had planted for our Wedding in August didn't survive last winter's frost, so we will have to do some major replanting soon. I need color out here to cheer me up. Thank God for the Camellia tree.
1. Family portrait under the Camellia tree
2. Nina, Hannah and Sadie at the Two Bird
3. Me at the Two Bird--photo really show the loss of eyelashes....sigh.
4. Our back yard showing the first sings of spring!
5. My cousins Whitney and Patricia.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
So, I had my appointment with the actual plastic surgeon on Monday. Thanks again to my sister Hannah who comes every Sunday and spends the night and then helps on out Monday by taking care of Sadie. It's a lucky coincidence all these appointments are scheduled for Monday because I can zip in to the city without worrying about packing up the baby. I felt a wee bit guilty driving over the bridge because it was such a beautiful day and I got myself a Soy Chai Latte and I was listening to Feist and the window was down and the air smelled so good and I wasn't white knuckling it because there wasn't a newborn in the backseat. I never thought I would be looking forward to a doctor appointments to get a break from the routine of my life in the little cabin in the woods--not that I don't love that baby--but I am sure all moms know what I mean.
Anyway, back to the surgeon. After waiting a full hour and a half in the reception area (thankfully the view from UCSF on Parnassus is amazing and I was able to text my friend Cathy at work for a long time so I wasn't too peeved--I am getting sick of waiting for doctors) I finally meet with the famous Dr. Foster who, along with Laura Esserman, will remove my breasts and give me a new pair. Again, the irony. I had some questions answered. For example, I didn't understand why I needed expanders put in after the initial surgery for a month before the final implants when I have NO desire to get breasts any bigger than my current size. Turns out because I am getting a mastectomy (as opposed to a regular breast augmentation surgery) they are removing all the tissue and most importantly blood vessels from my breasts. If they put in implants right away there wouldn't be a strong enough blood supply to feed the skin and the skin may die. Gross. The expanders slowly get my body used to sending more blood through the vessels left behind. I finally learned why I was told that because I have Lupus I couldn't get implants. It's only been in the last two years that the FDA has realized implants do not cause an immune response. For a while silicone implants were taken off the market because of this, but now they are back on and just in time. Lucky me. I am choosing silicone (instead of saline) because they feel and look more natural. Also, I will be getting them 'lifted' and am wondering if the one good thing out of all of this is that I can finally wear halter and spaghetti strap dresses?
I also learned it's only been in the last five years that they have perfected the skin sparing surgery I will be getting. They used to take all the breast tissue and skin with a mastectomy, but they realized that breast cancer isn't skin cancer so now they spare the skin (duh! I feel sorry for the woman who went through what I am going through 20 years ago). And finally, the only reason woman choose the transflap surgery I blogged about earlier is because, by using their own fat, there is no chance they will have any problems with their breasts in the future--meaning no pain, no scarring, no infection. However, the transflap is MAJOR surgery and has a two month recovery period and once it's done--it's done. Meaning if in twenty years they wish they had smaller or bigger boobs--they can't do anything about it. And, worse, if they are lumpy and look weird, oh well. It's a permanent surgery. With implants, if I decide I don't like them in a few years, I can change them. And, if I do have some weird response and have pain or an infection, they can take them out. I can always do the transflap when Sadie's older and isn't insistent on spending almost every moment of her life in my arms. With the implants, total recovery should be more like a month compared to two months or more. Phew!
I like Dr. Foster. He is very mellow. Took his time. Drew me some pictures. We had a funny moment where he asked me to undress from the waist down and then said he would be right back, but then realized the nurse didn't leave a gown and was going to go get one and I told him I was over the gown and that my breasts were officially not a private part anymore so he might as well save some time. I mean what is it about the doctor leaving the room while you take your shirt off and put on that stupid open from the front gown that salvages your dignity? Especially when what they need to do is pull and push your breasts around while hemming and hawwing about where they will cut and sew?
That same day we had a pediatrician appointment for Sadie. Little girl is getting big. She weighs 11 pounds 11 ounces and has grown 2 inches in length. Her head is also 2 inches bigger. The doctor said her skin looked great. She tracked with her eyes in the right way and in general got a clean bill of health. The doctor did try and tell us we need to start sleep training her to sleep alone and that she should be sleeping at least 6 hours at night. Right now, Sadie gives us 2 hours before she wants to eat. I can't imagine 6! She's just two months old. I think the doctor is pushing it. Also, Greg and I like sleeping with her. She's such a little bundle. I hope I don't regret it, but I think we are going to keep her in our bed for another month and then see how it goes.
So, pictures above are:
1: My sister Hannah and Sadie--and she knows why I am posting this one.
2. What I think is a pretty funny family portrait (sans Frida of course). We're starting Sadie out early by watching Bill Maher so she will be sure to agree with our political leanings.
3. Me and Sadie during one of her middle of the night feedings. From my face, I would say it's around 4 AM.
4. My 11 pound 11 ounce chunky monkey. So cute.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
....that today for just a moment, in the slightest subtle way I was glad I was at chemo because I got to SLEEP. Again the 50 mg of Benadryl made me feel so heavy. Everything sort of melted away. Conversations were going on around me, but I couldn't drum up the energy to join in. My eyelids were impossible to keep open and I was able to succumb to sleep for the entire 3 hours while the Taxol dripped in to my veins. I feel sort of guilty for 'looking forward' to this drug induced nap and I am positive that if it wasn't for the lack of sleep due to waking up every two hours to give Sadie her bottle, I would be going crazy with impatience to get the hell out of the Infusion Center. Maybe this is another one of those crazy good/bad moments.
Ever since I have been diagnosed I am bombarded with the goodness and the badness of my situation. In this case it's really bad I have cancer and have to get chemo while I have a newborn at home. But, it's good that when I do go to chemo, the anti-reaction drug they use makes me super sleepy and I get to lie in a bed and get some sleep. Sleep, something my friend Susannah calls 'porn for moms'. Another one: it's bad that I have cancer and a newborn at home, but I am fairly positive if I just was a new mom, I wouldn't be getting the almost round the clock help I have received from all my friends, family and in some cases complete strangers who learned of my situation and want to help. Here's a third: It was pretty bad that I waited almost 6 months to get my lump checked out by a doctor--but it's good I did wait because if I had gone in during my first trimester, I would have had to wait till I was in the third to get treatment and have an agonizing stressful pregnancy, living with the knowledge I had breast cancer full of worry and dread at what was to come, or worse, maybe I would have had to get a late stage abortion so I could get treatment right away. The way it all went down--I didn't know I had breast cancer until Sadie was fully cooked and can look back at the bulk of my pregnancy as fairly stress free event. And finally--again the breast cancer/new baby combo--not good--BUT, as it is Sadie won't remember any of this. She doesn't know her mom leaves her every other Thursday for the entire day (in the good hands of Sarah Bott and Amber Horen) to get toxic chemicals put inside her body. All she knows is she is warm, well cared for, fed, rocked and sung to. She won't have memories of her mom bald, tired, sick, cranky, in pain and unhappy. She'll look at pictures and think I look pretty funny bald and that will be it. Once she starts collecting memories in her head, I will be cancer free and back to my normal self. It's good this is happening now--and not when she is older because I experienced watching my mom with cancer. I don't want Sadie to go through what I went through. I don't want to go through what my mom went through. Not really wanting to go there right now--but I really hope when the medical profession professes that treatment is so much better now and that they are discovering new ways to treat cancer every day they are telling the honest truth. It's everyone's favorite thing to say when I 'go there'--that there is no way my destiny is my mom's because medicine is getting so much better. But is that just the 'thing' to say? Is that a band aid to cover up a hard truth, a real fear? It's hard for me. I am the type of person who goes on to MovieSpoiler.Com before I see a movie if there is any chance someone dies because I can't stand not knowing when the sadness comes. I read the ends of books before the beginning because I need to know how it ends to enjoy the journey. The anxiety of not knowing ruins everything for me. I speed through the writing and I can't enjoy the book.
Having this cancer, and knowing my mom's fate--how can I not compare? How can I not think her end is also mine? Her story is how mine ends as well?
That's all I need to say about that.
Pictures above are first my view from the bed--before I passed out and then passed out Rosalie.
Pictures above are first my view from the bed--before I passed out and then passed out Rosalie.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Today I had my surgery consultation. The consultation was supposed to be with Laura Esserman who is the head of the Breast Cancer Center at UCSF (or director or something) and with the plastic surgeon (forgot his name). As late as yesterday I was getting phone calls from their assistants making sure I was 'ready' for this appointment (filled out the paperwork and stuff). And then I get this final phone call telling me to come at 5 even though my appointment was at 4 because the doctors are so busy and the wait can be super lengthy so I might as well arrive at 5. Turns out the right hand didn't talk to the left and the plastic surgeon had already left because someone didn't tell his department they told me to come at 5 instead--LORD!
So I only met with Laura who is the breast surgeon but this was OK because I now have a plan and some serious answers. On Monday I have to trek in to the city again to see the plastic surgeon at a different hospital. Don't these people know I live out in the boondocks!
For so long I have known that chemo is like half my battle. Up ahead I knew I had surgery to deal with and that I had to make some serious decisions about the fate of my breasts but I didn't know when-- the day after my chemo was done? Next year?
The psychological impact of losing my breasts is probably bigger than I am letting myself feel at this point and maybe I'll write about it later. For those eager to learn about their fate--here it is: They are goners. As much as I would like to think that because the chemo has been so effective on my tumor in shrinking it I can keep my breasts, I have the BRC1 gene (breast and ovarian cancer gene) that my mom had and woman with this 'mutation' have no business walking around with their natural born breasts if they want to live and woman who have had breast cancer already (that would be me unfortunately) have a serious death wish if they choose to keep them. I have a lot to live for--so bye bye boobies. As for my ovaries--we talked about those too. The plan is to get them removed a little later in my life. Maybe abound 38 or 40 when I am certain I don't want anymore kids. Poor Greg. I think he thought there wasn't even a chance but now that Menopause is maybe only temporary--you never know.....I mean Sadie is pretty cute we would be sort of doing a disservice to the wold NOT having another--ha ha.
I have always know that losing my breasts would be part of this experience--it's not new news but it's always a bit altering to be in a doctor's exam room and hear it from their mouth as opposed to Web MD. I googled breast reconstruction awhile ago and I have to say, got kind of freaked out. Mainly because the photos on the web are a bit Frankensteinian--most are from plastic surgeon websites and are fairly graphic and medical. Nobody was really caring about the lighting if you know what I mean. Earlier I was told by some doctor (but I can't remember who) that because I have Lupus there was no way I could get saline or silicone implants because of the immune response. Instead I would have to a procedure called a 'transflap' something or other--I would look it up but Sadie is starting to cry and I want to post this before Greg loses his patience. For this procedure they take the fat and some muscle from your stomach and redirect it up to your breasts along with the veins and arteries so the tissue doesn't die. So those looking on the brighter side of things think Tummy Tuck! Boob Job! For those of you like me, I think major surgery. Big scar. Long recovery (two months with the transflap). There really wasn't much about it that was good in my opinion. I would MUCH rather by an Ab roller than get an incision from hip to hip in my belly. Yuck. Also, in this procedure I would lose my nipple and all sensation in the overall breast (ladies, they aren't just for filling out shirts you know!?). Even though I knew there was the nipple tattoo option--this really bothered me. Double yuck.
So, a lot of what I thought isn't happening. There is good news and bad. Bad first: I will lose sensation in my breasts as I thought. They have to remove ALL the tissues and this includes the nerves. At one time they tried to save the 'fifth intercostal nerve' that connects up to the nipple, but they weren't successful so they don't do it anymore.
Good news: I get to keep my breast skin (meaning they aren't building new breast mounds out of some other skin) and I get to keep my nipples AND I don't have to have the transflap crazy stomach nightmare procedure--instead I will get implants. I really wish I could remember which doctor told me I couldn't. Regardless, Laura who seems to be the expert doesn't see any reason I should go through the surgical shenanigans of a transflap surgery--thank God. It's as if I am just the average small chested lady looking for a bit more love up in the chest area which is hysterical because for those who are in the 'know' I have boobage to spare and have had it since I hit around 14 years old. The only scar I will have is around the nipple and she says you can barely see it. The one caveat is that I have to get expanders put under my skin and go in a few times to get them filled with water until they are the right size and then they go in and put the permanent implants in. I can't believe I get to 'pick' my size. I can't believe I will never have saggy boobs--this I am kind of happy about--but seriously, I would rather have saggy boobs that feel something than perky ones that don't. Oh well.
So timing--my surgery has been scheduled for May 6--one day before my mom would have been 62 years old.
Monday I meet with the plastic surgeon. I will be sure to tell him to make sure I don't get the Tori Spelling canyon (probably only Amber and Susannah will know what I am talking about). Picture above is in the exam room. I am waiting to get felt up. You can tell by the photo my general opinion of that. And the other photo is Greg in bed with Sadie this morning. I am so glad he is home.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Most of you know that Greg has been in Hawaii (for work) since Thursday because I sent out a mass APB email to garner some extra help while he's gone. Thanks to all who 'signed up'. For those who didn't know--yes, he has been gone and will be back on Tuesday night. He was first going to be back on Thursday night but that meant he would have missed my surgery consultation on Wednesday and chemo #6 on Thursday. Anyway, I can't believe that people do this alone whether by choice or by circumstance. And it's not the actual work of taking care of the baby--the bottle washing, diaper changing, rocking, pacing, singing, laundry, bathing etc., it's that doing it alone is, well, lonely. When she smiles or makes a funny noise, it's hard when nobody is there to celebrate it with you. Or when she is just crying like crazy, being alone makes you feel fairly crazy yourself. I can handle the days OK, but am grateful for my girlfriends who are coming over to allow me a few hours sleep so I don't nod off during the night feedings. But night time is different--it's so dark out here in Forest Knolls and quiet and my imagination starts to get the best of me and all of a sudden I don't just live out in Forest Knolls (10 miles to the freeway for those who think it's so far away), but like in the woods surrounded by wildlife and scariness and I get overtaken by that weird homesick feeling that you get in your stomach like when you were a little girl at a sleepover and your friend fell asleep before you and you were left in her bedroom wide awake with all her unfamiliar and strange house noises.
Anyway, all is good right now because it's Sunday which means Tia Hannah is here for the night. She's chuckling over Sex and the City right now while cuddling Sadie. I envy her that she doesn't have cable because every episode is new to her whereas I can repeat verbatim all Carrie's little 'I couldn't help but wonder' lines by heart.
So, some good news to report. My PET scan showed that the cancer has not spread anywhere in my body. I hated getting the test, but am thrilled with the results. It was down in a new UCSF building in China Basin. I had to get another IV put in my arm. I am running out of veins that aren't bruised. The test took about 2 hours but half the time you are just sitting in a cold waiting room while sugar dye is running through your veins before they actual do the imaging. The room is cold because a lot of the woman get hot flashes from the sugar dye, but I didn't so I just sat there and shivered. I went alone and Greg stayed with Sadie (his FIRST time being totally alone with her. I think it freaked him out at first, but he ended up having a good time because Sadie is such a good baby). I have such an issue sitting with other cancer patients. It's that whole being one of them idea. I need to get over it. I got the bald head, thinning eyelashes and eyebrows and general sickly appearance so I should just embrace it and move on. In the waiting room I think one of the women wanted to talk to me because she kept making eye contact but I avoided her and kept to the In Style magazine I had thankfully found. See--what's wrong with me? Maybe she would have been someone with good advice. I think I just want to get through this without totally making my life all about cancer and therefore don't really want to know anyone with cancer too. Anyway, back to the test--the whole sliding through the sterile white coffin is creepy no matter how hard they try to make it OK with the Norah Jones music and heated blankets. I am still lying in a claustrophobic tube with massive amounts of gamma radiation sent through my body looking for hot spots which shows cancer growing and that's not any way someone should spend an afternoon. I realize I need to make friends with this test because it will show me if and when any cancer ever decides to come back anywhere else in my body. I should be grateful it exists..
So, today I had another outing. It was Dan's birthday and I brought Sadie over to their house where Nina had planned a little tea party. I was really looking forward to it because I knew there would be endless people who would want to hold Sadie, giving me a wee break, and sure enough I was only there for two minutes before she was swooped up by one of Nina's teacher friends and I didn't hold her until five hours later--I even stole away to the bedroom and slept (!) for a few hours. I hope this doesn't make me a bad mother. I am just so darn tired.
Anyway, pics above or from the party. That's me and my dad with Sadie. And that's Sadie with my aunt Sara. And the other one is of Sadie with my sister's friend Jon O'Halleran's second son Sam born five days after Sadie. I had her all in pink and Jon's wife Haven had Sam all in blue. They were pretty cute together. Baby's are great.