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.

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