Saturday, July 26, 2008

Another I Am So Lucky Post

I was feeling frustrated with Captain Adorable's potty learning steps backwards and I was lucky enough to talk with my friend Ms. Resourceful. She didn't have a magic answer or anything, but she did have an open ear, a sympathetic glance, a ready smile, and some encouraging words. I am so lucky to have a friend like her!

I was feeling unhappy with my husband and a bit alone. Luckily, my husband is a good communicator, and he was able to open up a discussion between us and we both felt better after our talk. It sure feels good to kiss my beloved husband when we are both feeling happy and heard!

I was feeling sad that I am unable to reach some old friends (from college and right after college) but I am lucky because I have recently renewed my acquaintance with several other folks from high school, college, and beyond!

I was worried that the post about my frustrating day with Captain Adorable was too long and wordy (according to Captain Obvious) and luckily my Mom and a friend emailed me and a very sweet faithful reader sent me a comment to say how funny they found the post! Made me feel so much better!

It was a beautiful day today! That was lucky because it meant that when Captain Obvious's father and brother came over, we could have a nice family dinner outside on our deck.

Although I am often mournful for the early weaning that Captain Adorable and I had to go through, I am lucky because we had that precious precious precious nursing relationship for as long as we did.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention I am lucky because I am going to HAWAII one month from today!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Activities from 4:14pm till 4:56pm Yesterday Afternoon

Yesterday afternoon I got a bit frustrated with my little one. Let me tell you about it. By 4:14 we had been to the potty for extended sittings 4 times in the preceding 2 hours and we still ended up with poop on the carpet (an accident, poop falling out of the underpants). Captain Adorable only peed one of those times that we sat on the potty. It was obvious that he was saying "potty" just to get my attention and it was making me unhappy because I want to respond to his every request to use the potty and yet I do not want potty to become about anything other than using the potty! I was struggling with how to deal with this development, I was tired, and I was getting more and more irritated with my poor little sweetie's normal toddler behavior.

My Mom and my Aunt (who visited from London!) bought Captain Adorable a child's broom to play with because he loves brooms. I had been saving it for a time when I needed a breather, so I pulled it out, but it was useless as a distraction for him (and a pressure reliever for me) because instead of playing with it, he just used it to bang everything normally out of his reach on the walls and the kitchen counters. I took it away. He took the little dustpan and little broom that came with the broom and whacked them on things so I took that away too. I sat down to rest by myself (in other words, not in order to do something for or care for my son in some way) for the first time that day and then he started chasing the cat (to pull her tail). So of course I had to rescue her. Sigh. He's a normal toddler. I was just having a deficit of patience.

Captain Adorable did a few others things that drove me effing crazy (maybe because he did all of them, singly they would not be so bad I think). My aunt bought him a set which includes a helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads (more about that in a minute) and he would ask for the elbows guards to be put on and then almost immediately cry for me to take them off. five minutes later he'd ask for me to put the elbow guards on again. And again. Sigh. I was now ignoring him because I was getting frustrated and needed a few minutes to regroup.

He was probably confused as to why I was ignoring him but I could not ignore him for long because he went into the kitchen and because I couldn't see him from where I was sitting on the couch I went to check, fully expecting to find him in the pantry cabinet in the kitchen (the only door that does not have a child safety lock!). While walking over there I was telling myself not to be annoyed at the mess I would have to clean up. Instead I was pleased to discover he was not in the cabinet: just drinking milk out of his thermos! The other irritating thing he did yesterday was he decided he would not longer eat the cherries that I bite in half to remove the seeds so they are safe for him to eat and insisted on eating whole cherries. But of course he swallows the seeds! I watch him eat the fruit and ask him to spit out the seed and he spits out the fruit instead!!! After the second cherry like this I decided we were done with cherries for the day. (Although last night when I cleaned up the kitchen, I found a seed on the floor, so maybe he only swallowed one seed...)

Anyhow, like I said, he's a sweet little guy; I was just having a deficit of patience. A logical distraction to try would have been to take him outside... but I did not want to go outside (in the heat and the sun and the mosquitos), so we stayed inside. My skin is super dry and flaking everywhere (thank you, Tarceva) and I just wanted to stay in the air conditioning.

I know that everything he does is normal toddler behavior and he learns from all of it. :) And yes, almost all of the time I am totally fine with all of it and it is cute...and then he was asking to go to the potty again. Of course, once again he was eager for me to read books and had no product. I knew he was just asking because he wanted me to take him and read to him but I took him and read to him anyway because I want to be consistent with responding to his potty requests. I do think it is important to be consistent--he is accident free much of the time and goodness knows I do not want to mess with that!

Immediately after the potty he asked to dance (soooo cute! he points to the mp3 player and says "da, da" while bopping up and down) but I was still frustrated, so I just turned on the music and left the kitchen. He followed me into the living room and started telling me he wanted to go to the potty again, pulling off his underpants and said poop! I am all about getting poop into the potty, so I was inclined to respond to this news, (even though I strongly suspected it was a false alarm) but fortunately he contradicted himself by immediately getting on the tricycle. I decided to take him to the potty anyway (just in case) but he climbed into a living room chair and started looking at a book instead. That lasted about 45 seconds, then he was out of the chair and playing with a piece of paper he tore out of a magazine the day before, shoving it in the hole in the floor (an airconditioning/heat vent which no longer has a cover because it is pointless to put it back when he will just take it off again and again and again...).

That lasted about 30 seconds and then he headed to the "climbing frame," which is what I have been calling his baby jumper. We had it out to take pics of (to try to sell online) and he loves it so much I left it out for him to play with. The climbing frame interlude was very short, and then he went into the kitchen again, came out immediately, but seemed to accept the fact that I was ignoring him. He sat down on the floor with a book. He did not stay there, of course, but entertained himself (not with the book) for 4 whole minutes! and then started bringing me books. 1, 2, 3, and when I did not respond, he brought me No, David! and said "book dave." I was impressed--another one of those two words sentences (a new development) but even more impressive (to me) was that he knew that was the title of the book! I knew I had to read it to him after that eloquent request, so I did. After that was finished he managed to entertain himself for four more minutes and then asked to go to the potty AGAIN. Those 4 minutes of break had really helped my mood, and I took him. I read him 4 books. No pee, no poop. But I was not that frustrated any longer, so it was not that bad. I looked at the clock and it was 4:56. Almost time to start dinner.

I had a wonderful time visiting with my aunt when she was here and I hope she takes my invitations to return seriously. I'd love to have the chance to interact with her in person more often than when a family member gets married. :) I also am really happy that Capt. Adorable got to meet her. He certainly seemed to like her (even said her name, which is not short or easy for an 18 month old)! She bought him the safety equipment (helmet and elbow and knee pads) because my Mom bought him a running bike! WoooHooo! It arrived yesterday and we've been playing with it ever since. He still needs a lot of help with it, but he seems to like it. I've showed him the videos on the web site a few times (often when he is sitting on the potty) and he finds them fascinating. I think he finds them inspirational because he always wants to play with it after watching the videos. I will report on his progress.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Another Day With Only One Accident

Today again Captain Adorable told me every time he had to pee. He also told me when he had to poop (before doing it) and we went to sit on the potty. I read him books while he took care of business. :) After his nap, he sat on the potty for a while and I thought he had to poop, but we don't have any books up there and after a while I guess he got bored. He acted as though he wanted to get off the potty, so I took him off and let him run around the bedroom while I put lotion on my face. A few seconds later I realized he had pooped on the floor. Whoops!

I should have listened better...I was eager to take care of my dry dry dry face, though. Ah well, we've made such excellent progress I am not going to complain about this accident.

We went out to dinner this evening and I took him to the potty there and he obliged with a pee. He's so great. I love him. (But if you've been reading this blog, you already know that!)

We had a good time at his swimming lesson today. I think he will be ready for Hawaii!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Day With Only One Accident

Today Captain Adorable is 18 months and 10 days old and he did every single pee and a poop in the potty. He asks for the potty verbally now (sounds like "paa"), which is very convenient, but I am still watchful for any sign that he needs to sit on the potty. He did start his after lunch poop in his underpants, but he told me what was going on and I rushed him to the bathroom! I read Dr. Seuss books to him while he finished up on the toilet.

Just to give a better idea of how proud of him I am, let me emphasize his accomplishment. We did not stay home all day (which would make it easier). We went shopping this morning (at discount warehouse and a grocery store, so not a quick trip) and his underpants were dry when we got home (first thing we do when we hit the door is sit on the potty). In the afternoon we went to Ms. Resourceful's house. Ms. Resourceful's daughter also uses the potty and it was funny that every time she went, Captain Adorable wanted to go also. I obliged and he squeezed out a little pee each time. It was convenient being at Ms. Resourceful's place because I could just take off his shorts and the waterproof cover and let him walk around in shirt and underpants, just like at home.

Once we left her house, we went to a discount store and then got gelati (yes, bad mother, getting sugary treats for an 18 month old!). All in all, the trip home was not looooong but not terribly quick either. His underpants were dry when we got home.

It seems pretty crazy wonderful to have only two pairs of underwear to wash after today (one with poop and one that he wore all day). I am so impressed with my little Captain!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exciting Potty News


Another Two Steps Forward

So far this morning Captain Adorable has asked to use the potty twice and did a big pee each time (so was obviously saving up, know what I mean?). I am feeling very hopeful about the rest of the day...we will see how it goes, I suppose. I know I am not entirely finished with diapers (despite the new covers) because I will still use diapers for poops for a while...however, yesterday I managed to get him on the potty just as a turd fell out of his butt, so Captain Obvious and I both made a big deal about poo poo in the potty. Capt. Adorablw was pretty interested and I was really worried that he was going to grab the turd, but he did not. I know the book said not to praise products, just process (sitting on the potty), but dang I was happy and I really couldn't see a reason to ignore the fact that there was a turd in the potty!

I hate cleaning up after a poop in underpants! Yeech!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

First Time In Public

Today the waterproof covers/pants I ordered arrived. (I got the white Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.) They are designed for use with cloth diapers, so they are soft and comfy. To celebrate the occasion, when I went to the organic food store, I left Captain Adorable in his training pants and just put the cover on over them. When we got home, over an hour later, he was still dry. It was a very small achievement, but I am proud of him. We may in fact be done with diapers, except for when sleeping.

This does not mean that we are done with accidents. :) Accidents are still going to happen; this is a two-steps-forward-one-step-back type process and I am fully prepared to continue to have 2-4 wet pairs of training pants per day for a few weeks. Some days there are less and some days there are more accidents. I am fully confident that Captain Adorable will stay dry all day at some point in the next few months.

Now all we need is to learn to poop in the potty...sigh.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Could Be A Coincidence But...

I started using Tortuga Lotion made by Keys Soap on my face yesterday and this morning I woke up to almost completely clear skin!!!! The rash was clearing up, and I have been super careful about staying out of the sun, so it could be coincidence, but I just thought I'd put this development on the blog so if there are other people out there suffering from Tarceva skin rash maybe this will help them too. These products were designed and made by a woman who had skin cancer, so they are really good quality and made for hypersensitive skin.

The insect repellent I mentioned in yesterday's post is made by the same company. (Though it seems not to be marketted as an insect repellent first and foremost...we will see how it works.)

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Little Cancer and A Lot of Motherhood

Well, am not going to talk about the state of my rash anymore because I think it is always going to be in some stage of worse or better as long as I am on Tarceva. At the moment it is getting better again and that is good. The hat is on my head every time I set foot outside and sunscreen if I am outside in the sun for more than 5-10 minutes. If I am going to sit in the shadow of the deck in our backyard, I do wear the hat but not sunscreen.

I took Captain Adorable to the pediatrician today (for his 18 month well baby visit). Yes, I like visiting the pediatrician. Ours is crunchy (never have to worry about her retracting his foreskin or something equally horrid) and she is nice. Today she was wearing lovely black and pink floral print dress, so she looks like a person, not a doctor, if you know what I mean. She is sweet to Captain Adorable and if he does not want her to poke him in a certain place (did not want to let her look in his mouth), she does not push it. She always takes a long time with us, and interacts with us in a friendly, unhurried way. She always asks me how I am doing and today she brought down a few creams from her own personal collection (her practice is in her house) for me to test on my face. She told me that it would be good to use a cream that is designed to help the skin heal instead of Eucerin (which I use now) which prevents it from getting worse but does not nourish. I do not know if the beautiful cream I bought will really help the rash, but it certainly feels good and smells good. We will see if it is worth the 20+ bucks I paid for it...she also recommended a super super excellent insect repellent that is designed for people with very sensitive skin (like toddlers/babies). Captain Adorable got a little dermatitis from the insect repellent I was using when at my parents' house. It uses something called "neem" which is supposed to work just as well as DEET but is safe enough to drink. I will have to google it and post a link for others who may be interested...

Anyhow, Captain Adorable gained a pound since his last visit 3 months ago (thank goodness) so that helps me to feel confident about what and how much he is eating. Some days he eats more, some days he eats less. As long as I keep feeding him good quality/organic whole foods (with some treats thrown in here and there) I think he will be fine. His head circumference increased as well, but the best thing is, he grew 3 inches since last visit! The pediatrician was so surprised by this that she measured him twice just to make sure.

So, here are his stats:
Weight: 23 pounds 12 ounces (20th percentile)
Height: 33.5 inches (80th percentile)
Head circumference: 48.5 cm (75th percentile)

All in all I was quite satisfied by these measurements and left feeling very happy. I just made a smoothie for my little Captain which consists of organic whole fat vanilla yogurt (brand: Brown Cow) and organic strawberries. He is downing it. OK, it does have sugar in it because there is sugar in the vanilla yogurt, but because that sugar is in the form of maple syrup and evaporated cane juice, I am not too worried. Excellent vehicle for him to get fat, protein, and fruit.

In potty learning news, there was a big set back when we came home from my parents' house. He was naked most of the time while we were there (they live in the middle of no where) and perhaps the ability to pee wherever he felt the urge is what did it? I don't know...but for all of this week (we returned home on Monday and it is now Friday) he has been having what is called a "potty pause." It is as if he has never learned to use the potty at all! Worse, one day (Wednesday, I think) he even peed on me as he stood in my lap! Yesterday he pointed out his pee on the floor to me ("Pee!" with index finger extended while standing with his legs apart because his underpants were wet). That did try my bland-faced patience a bit. Of course I did not get angry with him, but most likely I did sigh loudly more than once...

In case you are thinking of starting potty learning or potty training or whatever you want to call it with your child, no matter the age, keep in mind that all the "experts," whether they advocate "readiness" a la T. Berry Brazelton or an approach closer to the ideas behind Elimination Communication (which is what we are doing), everyone says that there is nothing to be gained from punishment. If you create fear and apprehension around toileting, it will be much more difficult for your child to learn! Praise is always good of course.

Thank goodness, today we seem to be back in the groove. Aside from the one poop accident, he's been wearing the same pair of underpants all day (in our house, not on outings). Of course there is still the problem of pooping; Captain Adorable does not poop on the potty. Today, however, for the Very First Time Ever, he told me he was pooping. I find this very encouraging and I hope it will lead to further warnings and maybe even pooping on the potty!!! I finally ordered some plastic pants, so very soon Captain Adorable will be in underpants 100% of the time. I imagine I will have to buy a bigger bag since I will probably be carrying around a potty seat. Sigh. (But that's ok!)

Every morning for breakfast Capt. Adorable eats a scrambled egg. He eats it with a fork and also with his hands (fork in the right hand, picks up pieces with his left). This morning I thought I'd give him a little treat and made him a one-egg omelet. The only thing I added was cheddar cheese. Everything else was exactly the same. However, when I offered the omelet, his reaction was anger. He would not eat! The one bit I managed to get in his mouth he spat out immediately. Then I remembered that he also rejected the french toast I made for him earlier this week. I guess he is really into his routine. Once I finally understood this, I made him a scrambled egg and he yummed it up. Later he asked for cereal (I cannot eat until one hour after I take my Tarceva, so I eat breakfast well after Captain Adorable does) and even though I had already eaten his omelet, I figured that I'd give him a little bowl. I put it (grapenuts) in a ramkin with milk and prepared to feed it to him with a little spoon. He became very angry and cried and yelled and refused to allow the spoon to touch his lips. I gave up quickly but he continued to be angry and ask for cereal. Finally realization hit me and I took him and the cereal out on the deck. There we sat at the table and Captain Adorable happily spilled cereal and milk all over the place while putting bites in his mouth by himself. Perhaps by the end of the summer he will be feeding himself all the time.

While I was in Tennessee visiting my parents I talked a bit with a man who has throat cancer (not sure of which type or stage). He had radiation and chemo. He told me about it while puffing on his cigarette. When that one was done, he lit another. I was a bit shocked and disgusted. Which makes me question some assumptions I have. It sort of annoys me when people ask me if I smoked once they find out I have lung cancer. I feel like answering, "if I did does that mean I deserve it?" but I never do. And yet, here I was, judging that man for smoking, thinking what a waste of money and time his treatment was. Not very compassionate of me. Obviously I too am governed by prejudices of all kinds. Have to try to be gentler with people who ask about the causes of my cancer in the future.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Rash Worse Again

Sigh. Just when it was almost all cleared up, I am covered in pimples all over my face Yes, even my eyelids. My neck is bad enough that I had to apply hydrocortizone cream (which burns burns burns for a few minutes until it calms down and the itch is soothed). I have big red pimples on my d├ęcolletage, too. I wonder if this is because I did not apply sunscreen to my sensitive areas (face and neck) and went to play in the water while visiting my parents. I was told that sun would make the rash I am, 2 days later and it is indeed worse. I wore a hat. I even wore the BIG hat. I just couldn't swim with Captain Adorable and wear the hat, so I took it off. I put it right back on again when I was not in the water. Or did I? Did I protect my face enough? Obviously not. Sigh.

In other news, I have been having diarrhea more often for the last few days. However, today it is getting bad.

Every day with cancer comes with a price. Sometimes it is a small price (wear a hat, put up with this rash) and sometimes it is a big price (thoracic surgery), and sometimes it is a price so big that for the rest of my life I will mourn it (losing my nursing relationship with my darling, darling little boy). All the prices, big and small, they all accumulate in my mind and on my heart. Sometimes I cry for myself and for my Captains and my parents and the other people I love. I think that is understandable.

Now for a bit of motherhood news. Today was Captain Adorable's first swimming lesson. He has been in the water (swimming) plenty of times. He's been in pools, a couple of hot tubs, a pond, and the ocean. This morning, however, he got to walk around in the shallow water of an indoor pool with only 3 other children (who were also being shadowed by their mommies). The class instructor had toys that floated and toys that sank for the kids to play with and Captain Adorable enjoyed carrying those around and giving them to people. He loves giving stuff to people. :) Next lesson is on Thursday morning. It brings me joy to see him so beautiful and happy, exploring the water, his body, interacting with other people. Love love love.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Rash Much Improved

Well I am happy to report that my rash is much improved. Yes, my skin is still very dry and I need to apply oil and lotion a few times (about 3-4) times per day. My eyes still bother me, though not as badly (I have a few episodes of stinging/burning and tearing per day). I am still more sensitive to light and have to wear sunglasses all the time when outside. Of course because my face is all greasy my sunglasses get all greasy and much of the time I can't tell if my vision is blurry because of Tarceva or because of lotion on my sunglasses! :) It is true that I have a lot of pimples and I think my face looks terrible, but I've never had pimples, not even as a teenager, so any pimples at all seem like a terrible blight upon my face to me. Of course, perhaps what looks very bad to me is also partially hidden by my freckles.

The Captains and I are in Tennessee at my parents house and it is wonderful. Captain Adorable gets to have four devotees instead of only two and his parents get to play on their computers while the grandparents live it up hanging out with the baby (I call him that sometimes though he really is not a baby anymore).

Last night Captain Obvious set off a bunch of fireworks. It was very nice and Captain Adorable had fun watching from his relaxed, safe, warm spot in my arms. Last year he fell asleep during the fireworks in our town (or course he was nursing then) and this year he came very very close to sleep (it was significantly past his bedtime! bad parents!) but did not fall asleep. I think we will have another fireworks show tonight. More "boom boom" fun for both Captains!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Email from Radiologist

Well, I guess I was wrong and the news from the radiologist was not bad after all. Check out the email I received from him. :)

from Radiologist
to Rose
date Tue, Jul 1, 2008 at 8:41 AM
subject Re: albation not successful?


By in large, I am pretty happy with the ablation of the left upper lobe lesion. Definitive assessment somewhat relies on further imaging to see this lesion change over time, since this lesion was not PET positve before ( so PET negative lesion is not conclusive). The questions remain to be answered is what to do about the other lesion on the other side, and what this ablated lesion will do over time. Another ablation would only indicated if some cancer cells survive through the heat in the left upper lobe, or Dr Brahmer thinks that ablation would be prudent for the remaining right side lesion. Indeed, there was not as much scarring as I may have expected yet, but at 4 weeks it is early days still and does not mean 'it' did not work at all. It is probably related to the burn technique used because the lesion lies right next to nerves to your left arm, the Brachial plexus and need to protect it. The next scans will be more illuminating. Hope that makes it clearer. I am happy so far, particularly how well you have done.


My neck/face are still unhappy. I had Captain Obvious take photos of my rash. I will post them soon. I want him to take photos of me in the hats also. :)

Quitting the Gym

Well, Captain Obvious has pointed out that because I do not go to the gym anymore that I should cancel the membership within the 30 period which allows us to get all of our money back. I don't want to cancel the gym. But it is true that I am not going to go as long as my face is like this. Plus I am tired all the time and do not feel like going anywhere. Plus Captain Adorable was not doing well with being left at the gym child really seems like it is probably just a waste at this point.

But oh, I am sad about this.