Saturday, December 24, 2011

RFA Rescheduled

The radiofrequency ablation (RFA) I was supposed to have yesterday has to be rescheduled.

I arrived at JHH at 6:45 am. By 9:00 am I was lying on the table of a CT machine and a nurse was sticking (very cold) grounding pads on my thighs.  Then some sedative was put into my IV line and I faded into a warm dreamy place...then the doctor (a radiologist) gave me a shot (which I did not feel) in my chest area and started to give me breathing directions. It seemed as though he wanted me to hold my breath for longer and longer and longer. It was very hard for me to hold my breath so long. He asked me to do it again and again. Finally, he said that we would have to stop the RFA and reschedule. The lesion is in a place where my lung expands and contracts a lot with each breath I take, and it moves around "like a marble in jello." He showed me the images on the screen (remember, this procedure is CT guided, so I am in a CT machine with images being taken the whole time). It is also quite close to my heart. He felt it would be dangerous to insert the needle without greater control of my breathing, so we're going to try again, only this time with me under general anesthesia. Sometime in early January.

I was happy about this, as of course I want the doctor to do what is safest, and I was rather impressed with how very close the lesion is to my heart and goodness knows I don't want that needle in my heart, but I was also a little disappointed and a little worried about having to do this all again.

In the recovery room, my heart rate was so low (I was awake and fine, just lying still, under the effect of the sedation and really sleepy) that the heart rate monitor alarm went off! Obviously the walks I have been taking have made my heart very efficient. Good to hear at least one part of my body is functioning the way it is supposed to! (I have recently been thinking a lot about my lungs and how much I like breathing...)

Got home, napped for a few hours, then tried to rally and join my Captains for an early dinner at my favorite restaurant. I threw it all up when we got home and went to bed soon after that. This morning when I got out of the shower I noticed that I am developing a fungal (yeast) infection on the area of my chest which was cleaned to prep for the needle insertion: all over my breast and upper chest. Good thing I insisted on getting the prescription written at the hospital before I left (I am allergic to the over-the-counter yeast infection medicine). And here's something weird--because the needle has to go in sideways (last time it went in from directly above), it will go through my breast. Which kind of weirds me out. Ick.

Anyhow, here's more information about RFAs if you are interested. It seems that RFA is not widely used for lung cancers at the moment, so this is a pretty cutting edge decision to use this one my cancer! :) Lucky me (and I am not being sarcastic when I say that)!

Radiofrequency Ablation of Cancer (article from NIH Public Access)
Radiofrequency Ablation (There is a video of an ultrasound guided liver ablation here. Only one needle is used for my RFA.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Admission Ceremony

I was admitted to the Maryland Bar today in an Admission Ceremony at the Court of Appeal. Captain Obvious and my mommy attended as well (the candidates are only allowed 2 guests each). It was pretty cool and I felt pretty happy. I looked good in my suit, too!

At the same time, the shadow cast by the nodule growing in my left lung almost obliterated the significance of the whole event.

Moving forward, moving back, moving forward, moving back, moving forward, moving back...........

Monday, December 12, 2011

I Don't Want To Have Cancer Anymore

I have said the above phrase so many times during the last 4+ years...and it is still true today. I found myself saying it to Captain Obvious just this afternoon. I don't have any answers. The oncologist at JHH told me today that they are recommending RFA and not chemo. I am not sure this is the right answer (but God help me I so don't want to have chemo). I was getting super depressed and deflated with the idea of chemo. And then I got so happy with the idea that I wouldn't have it (the last RFA was so easy!) but my darling Capt Obvious still uses his brain and dammit he's right I should try to get another opinion from NCI.

What if this is the first flake in a snow storm?

What if it is just an outlyer?

How many more times can I do a cut-and-poison routine (aka surgery followed by chemo)? I'd like to live another 40 years. Can I have chemo 20 more times? (I doubt it.) How long can I make this work? I'm back to day one instead of day 700something (my cancer is more likely to reoccur within the first 2 I am, at 2 years and it is back, therefore putting me back at day one).

Tomorrow is my Bar Admission Ceremony. So completely overshadowed; I do not much care. Feeling overwhelmingly that I made the wrong decision and should not have stolen the summer from Captain Adorable.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Buckling My Seatbelt

I am finally home at the end of a long day and I do not have good news to share. I am in for another ride on the treatment train, folks. The CT scan today showed growth again.

The good news is, I have a very slow-growing cancer and the nodule that is growing is still quite small. The bad news is that it is growing. My oncologist, who was totally on the ball this time, has suggested (and I have agreed) to contact the same doctor who performed my RFA back in May 2009 (which successfully destroyed a nodule). He and his attending recommend chemotherapy after the RFA. He will talk to one more doctor, his supervisor, and I will hear from him on Monday and start this treatment very soon. Perhaps before the end of the year.

I have called Captain Obvious (who is on a plane home from California right now), my parents (I told them each separately), my sweet MIL, and I told my friend who was taking care of Captain Adorable. I hope the rest of you will not mind the update via blog because right now I want to eat dinner and do something fun with my son.

Here's a quote from the preliminary report:
9 mm lingular nodule, slightly increased in size and density since the prior study. Suspicious for disease progression. No new areas of involvement.

Monday, November 7, 2011


Happy news! I passed the bar! I think my life just changed (again, haha). I am excited and happy and I don't know what to write!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dwelling on Test Results

You know when you really want some event or other to happen and you wish over and over again that the time for that event was NOW? I call that wishing the time away, because by while wishing for that one event to happen, for that time to arrive, you are not living here, in this moment. (It sounds so cliche, but) every moment is precious and valuable and wishing away any moment is a waste.

And yes, I have been wishing the time away lately. My stress level concerning the bar results is growing and growing. I am convinced that I failed because I can't possibly have passed. I sweep away the reassurances of my husband and family and plan for what I will do once I get the news that I failed. I can take it again in February, right? I still have all my study materials...maybe I should start reading law again, getting back to those flash cards. It feels like an engine revving higher and higher as I dwell on the topic. I wish and wish that it was November so I would know the answer.

Next CT scan is December 9. When I got the final report for the most recent scan, it said that there was a change (unlike the preliminary report, which had said there was no change). A very small change--only 2 mm--so it could be just a fluke of the machine. But it could be growth. The only way to really know is to have another CT scan. So, this next scan is important. And of course I am worried about the results, because I don't want to do treatment again, but at least we have options. We know how to deal with it, and the fact that Captain Adorable is in a preschool that he loves 3 mornings a week and there are two potential mother's helpers in the neighborhood who could come hang out with him while I nap, if needed, means that me being on chemo would be easier for everyone.

So, as you can tell, the results of these two test are very much on my mind. I am trying not to wish the time away...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tears Before CT Scan

Here's how the day works when I go in for my oncologist appointments and tests: first phlebotomy (blood), where I ask for a specific phlebotomist,s eeing as he is the only one who has never hurt or bruised me. I get him to put in an IV. Then upstairs for the CT scan. I have to drink two big glasses of some dye and then in the CT machine I am injected (through that IV) with another dye, to which I am allergic, so I have to premedicate with prednisone, a steriod. Then I have lunch (can't eat before the CT scan) and then I go meet the oncologist and get my results and go home. Of course there is a waiting room stay at every stop along the way.

Today I was feeling bad and scared (since yesterday already) and in the waiting room before phlembotomy, I broke down in tears. A nice woman got me some tissues (poor Captain Obvious was clueless and had no idea where to find tissues). I was able to collect myself.

Anyhow, he new oncologist did not impress me--more later on that subject. Right now I will just post the results: the preliminary results show no change! Yippee! All that work I did this summer is still worth it.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer Milestones

Captain Adorable hit two big milestones this summer.

1) He learned how to swim. He is learning the crawl and is attempting to swim on his back these days. I had heard reports about this from Captain Obvious, but when bar study was over and I saw it for myself, I was really surprised! The kid can really swim!

2) He rides a pedal bike with no training wheels. I knew he could do this for months already, but he did not believe. We tried in the spring and I thought he was ready then, but he requested that the training wheels go back on. Then one day (a couple of weeks ago) he had heard me tell other people that I thought he could ride without training wheels. The next day he asked that we take the training wheels off and after one big frustration he rode it without problems. The training wheels will never go back on again. He goes faster than ever, but has developed a new respect for steep hills (which is fine with me), as he is still learning to use the brakes instead of his feet. He has even declared that he likes his pedal bike better than his Strider, so we've loaned it to a little boy across the street.

Tomorrow I have a CT scan. Will post results of course.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Up the Mast

Me at the top of the mast in the bosun's chair and Captain Adorable gazing up at me from the base of the mast. There were people watching me the whole time I was up there and, to my surprise, they applauded when I came down!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Celebrated on The Water

It was a long day. The exam is (and I know all exam takers of exams everywhere say this but) extremely hard. In fact, in the history of the Multistate Bar Exam (created in 1988), no one has ever achieved a perfect score. That includes people who teach the bar exam professionally, and have taken it over and over again. NO ONE has ever scored a perfect 200/200 (the highest score I know of was a 189). The exam is designed to be super hard. The answers are often all right, but one is more right. Sometimes the answers given are so close that the bar examiners end up having to credit two choices.

It is difficult to maintain the required focus when each question requires your COMPLETE ATTENTION for 200 questions over 6 hours. Of course, some are easier and some are harder. Lots of them require you to know (and apply ruthlessly, relentlessly) rules of prevailing common law (which sometimes contradict the law you have carefully learned for your the contrasting concepts of comparative negligence--majority view--and contributory negligence--minority view but used in my state, so I had to learn it for the essay portion anyhow) and statute that the majority uses (like Article 2 of the UCC, which covers the sale of goods). The fact patterns are designed to be confusing and often, to tug on the emotions of the test-takers. Sometimes the questions force you to give the reason one party wins when you know very well that there is no way that party would win in the real world. Sometimes the facts make you want very much to select the fair answer but of course the fair answer is wrong.

When I emerged from the test this afternoon I was extremely happy to see my son, who walked me to where my dear Captain Obvious was sitting under a tree, on the phone of course. I then sat in his lap (while he was writing work email on his phone, so supportive, ha) and cried for a for a few minutes.

Anyhow, I won't know my result for months.

For the rest few days post-bar prep period I plan to do a whole bunch of nothing. Just spend time with my beloved captains. Tonight we went sailing and that was lovely.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One Half (or Two Thirds) Done

Day one of the exam is over.

I woke up at 5:00 this morning (the alarm was set for 6:56) and I could not go back to sleep, despite lying quietly with my eyes closed in the dark for an hour.

Wrote the essay portion of the exam all day today. Going back tomorrow for another 6 hours of testing; this time it will be death by machine gun (aka multiple choice).

You might think I am halfway done, but if you think about it another way I am two thirds done because the essay is 400 of the 600 available points (so therefore I have completed 2/3 of the exam).

In case you were wondering, one needs a grade of 406/600 to pass.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Last Push

My beloved captains left this afternoon and won't be back till tomorrow evening to give me One Last Undisturbed Study Push. I studied from 10 am till 8 pm today, with approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes in breaks. I decided to stop because my brain is tired and I do not want to completly exhaust myself today since I have tomorrow to study undisturbed as well.

Blood, sweat, and tears have gone into these preparations (and not just mine): I have suffered paper cuts, ink stains on my fingers, and have sweated over a hot laptop with a hot desk lamp for hours and hours. (As Captain Obvious says, with a big fake-sad face, "Oh, the injuries of lawyers.") On a more serious note, I have cried from frustration and exhaustion. I have written and studied almost a thousand flash cards. I've attended weeks worth of classes, written dozens of practice state-law specific essays, written hours of practice practical tests (MPTs), and answered hundreds of multiple choice questions (MBEs). And of course I've spent hours debriefing them all.

I have asked for a lot and received even more support from so many people in my life. My darling brave boy has had a tough summer, going 10 weeks with little-to-no mama, much to his sorrow (last night at dinner he was resting his head on my lap, telling me he had never wanted me to study so much). My super supportive husband has listened to interminable lectures on law as I learn it and complaints about the demands of the exams. My parents hosted and cared for my child for 2 weeks (though I am pretty sure they were happy to undertake that task) and of course supported me. My dear friends have obliged me with opportunity for periodic much-needed non-study, non-exam-related interaction and have helped me by taking care of my little guy now and then.

Tomorrow is Saturday. I will completely immerse myself in study from the time I get up till my captains come home. My bar prep course recommends that I take Sunday completely off and limit myself to three hours of study on Monday (that will be hard). I sit for the exam on Tuesday and Wednesday. I have been working hard for weeks to prepare for this exam. I have poured time and effort into this. Of course there is always the worry that my performance, despite all my preparations, will not measure up. But I often feel confident, too. My plan is to pass this time! Goodness knows I'm working as hard as I can to achieve that...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cancer Is Always With Me

I recently had a conversation with my oncologist in which she confirmed that, for many excellent reasons, I will never have another pregnancy. In fact, it would be a bad idea to even try. She seemed surprised that I am still cycling as chemo often brings on early menopause. She also said that although so little is known about my cancer, there is a high chance for reoccurance but they have no way of predicting what my chances are. So, I was reading about CUP online the other night, trying to see if there was any new information out there and I found this article (from NCI) that freaked me out a little. The pertinent paragraph was this one:
The prognosis for patients with CUP is poor. As a group, the median survival is approximately 3 to 4 months with less than 25% and 10% of patients alive at 1 and 5 years, respectively. CUP is represented by a heterogeneous group of diseases all of which have presented with metastasis as the primary manifestation. Although the majority of diseases are relatively refractory to systemic treatments, certain clinical presentations of CUP carry a much better prognosis. In each instance, distinct clinical and pathologic details require consideration for appropriate, potentially curative, management.
It has been almost 4 years since my initial diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer. I am alive. Why? I am really happy and really lucky to be alive. Wow, I have such a small chance of being here now and yet, here I am. I guess I am in that weird class of "certain clinical presentations" which "carry a much better prognosis" ...or???? Every moment is precious. 

On another, but related note, this summer is different than any other summer I've shared with you so far because I am very busy...busy doing what, you ask...well, I guess, reluctantly, I will tell.

I am studying to take the Bar Exam. Yes, my second shot. Last time I did this was the summer of 2007. My son was a little baby and I was (unbeknowst to me at the time) full of cancer. Here I am now, with a 4 year old boy and in remission (till the next CT scan, anyway). A very different experience.

Studying for the bar is all-consuming. I dream about it every night. Sometimes I even wake up in the middle of the night, thinking about The Exam or The Character Interview or Whatever. I am always studying or attending class or doing a practice test. I never feel like it is enough. Some days I am convinced I will pass and some days I know I will fail. StressFul.

I didn't want to tell you about it because I wanted to avoid potential shame resulting from not passing and having to tell you that I failed, again, only with no good excuse this time. However, the reason I am sharing now is because something really ironic happened on Thursday and I thought you blog readers would appreciate it in a way others who don't know my whole story would not.

I received two letters. One was from the State Board of Law Examiners--it was my seat assignment. A big, fat envelope full of official papers and instructions. The other was from JHH; it was a thin envelope, containing one sheet of paper, confirming my next CT scan appointment. It feels a little like the last time I studied for the exam--the fear of the exam, the fear of the doctor's appointment. Impending doom. Or does it? This summer I am so much better prepared for the exam and I feel so much more confident about my health.

But there are echos from that summer 4 years ago. I feel buoyant--bobbing up, dropping down, bobbing up...well you get the idea (always hopeful and always prepared to bob back up). :) Mostly I try to keep uppermost in my mind how beautiful the world is and how I love my captains, my family, and my friends. (Sometimes I sink down a bit, though, and then I just bob back up with the next wave.)

I sit for the Bar Exam on July 26 and 27. The CT scan is August 19. God help me with both!

OK, gotta go study. Bye for now.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Problem Solving

Hey faithful (or not so faithful) blog readers! I know I haven't posted in forever...I've been busy. Busier than I've been for years. My family and I are figuring things out for ourselves. The captains are well. I am well. There are not enough hours in the day. There is beauty, magic, and wonder everywhere.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Adventures

Wonderful to be outside again. We like to eat outside on the screened-in porch, play in the sandbox, go to the playground, climb trees, plant plants, ride bikes, and go sailing. I got to go up in the bosun chair for the first time ever. Some of the activities listed above are pictured below. The last photo is of me in the bosun's chair, though!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What I Wanted To Hear!

Had another CT scan yesterday. I have only the preliminary report so far, but it shows no new cancer! So, life moves on.

I've been thinking a lot about how incredibly blessed/lucky I am to have such an unusual cancer. How my weirdness, the oddity of my disease, and my access to lots of good, smart doctors and high tech medical equipment and facilities, has led to a balance between me and my cancer (which is also me, really). I never thought I'd make it to this point. I thought I'd be dead by now. In fact, I started out this blog questioning whether I should even start chemo because I didn't know if the pay off would be worth it in the end. And really, the only reason that it did pay off for me is because I am odd. I am one of a very small percentage of people who gets to live this story.

I am so astounded and amazed to be alive, to have the responsibility of the future back.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Not So Much Work

Captain Obvious has been working very hard on the boat lately. In fact, he works on it every weekend. He has no choice--it has to go back in the water as soon as possible (because every extra day costs money of course). The good news is that once all this work is done, it does not have to get done again...for a while, anyhow...

Of course I love spending time with Captain Adorable, but he misses his time with daddy on the weekends. We know this, but today he made it very clear. The two of us went to the boat yard to drop off lunch and hang out for a little bit (admittedly, I really did not want to go--I am sick and was in the middle of getting the house ready for my parents' arrival). After lunch Capt. Obvious went back to painting so we took a little walk around the yard--I love looking at all the other boats around and Capt. Adorable just loves to explore!

We looked at several boats, including a MacGregor--a speed boat/sail boat hybrid--very interesting! We also saw a pretty little sailing dinghy and I pointed it out to my little Captain, saying that it was just the right size for him for when he is maybe 5 or 6. We walked over to look it at it and he remarked that it was a good boat because since it was not too big it would not need too much work, "just a little work and then ta-da, it is done!"

Friday, April 1, 2011

Backhanded Compliments

OK, not really. The truth is Captain Adorable is just innocently honest and says what he thinks. Thank goodness what he has been saying is complimentary. Here are two recent ones.

I made french toast for his breakfast and after telling me how delicious it was, he offered me a bite. (Which I longed to indulge in but did not take since I knew if I had the bite I'd have a whole piece of my own!) I said, "no thank you." With a smile on his face, he asked, "if you eat it you will get fat again?"

 We were driving home from preschool, talking about what we were going to do when we got home. The plan was to eat lunch and then paint the rudder. (That boat paint has to be applied outside and can only be put on when the temperature is at least 50, so the window of time was important. This was the only time Captain Obvious asked me to paint the boat, so far anyhow haha.) Captain Adorable was asking what I would wear--he loves wearing his work clothes or "paint clothes," and he's noticed I haven't got any. He told me I would have to wear "a pair of pants that is old and too big for you, like your grey pants." A sunburst-like swell of love for him surged through my heart at that moment!

My 4-year-old notices the change I've worked so hard for! :D

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Things He Says

This afternoon I was playing around with Captain Adorable. We were trying to tickle each other and I was trying to kiss his sweet little face. I often kiss his chin because he thinks it tickles--what is more irresistible and kissable than his smile as he lets out a peal of laughter? Anyhow, this afternoon he licked my face as I got close enough to kiss him. ICK! I told him I did not want him to lick my face. He responded, "I'm just trying to get the nutrition off."

Of course that made me laugh and still is, hours later. A combination of his father's jokes and my practicality, all twirled up in a way uniquely his own.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inside and Outside

Lots of things going on. Captain Obvious has been traveling a lot: he was gone for part of or all of 3 weeks in a row and it was hard on us all. Lots of changes coming down the pike. Hard for me to process as things seem to change a lot lately. Nothing health related! Next CT scan is April 6, so of course I will report on that.

Meanwhile, the weather fluctuations that confine us inside and send us outside continue through this mild end-of-winter/beginning-of-spring. We have fun either way.

Marble track fun in the playroom.
Swinging fun at a local park
Will write more about the changes when we have them sorted out for ourselves.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Inspired by TV

Well, television, like it or not, is a part of our lives. As I have written about over and over, I try very hard to keep screen time to one hour or less per day. I do not always succeed, but often I do! In addition to being concerned about the amount of time spent watching, I am of course very picky about what I do allow Captain Adorable to watch. I prefer gentle or educational programming, like Zaboomafoo, Little Bear, and Dinosaur Train. I try to avoid repetitive shows, like Wonder Pets (I have been overruled on this) and always avoid overly commercialized shows, like Dora and its ilk. Captain Adorable has gone through several favorite shows (we watch them via On Demand or Netflix, so no commercials either) and the current favorite is Word World. I think this is a great show for a few reasons (educational and gentle! creative situations and also songs and dancing!) but the biggest reason is because since he started watching it, Captain Adorable's letter recognition has gotten better and faster.

It is also inspiring him to write.

This evening I started to cook dinner while he was watching the second half of his allotted one hour of television (this means 4 episodes and 2 vignettes of Word World). I have seen all the episodes before and I knew the last episode was about fire fighters. When the show was over, Capt. Adorable was fooling around with his chalkboard (I was cooking, so not paying much attention) and asked, "What letter does 'fire' start with?" I said, "f," and soon he asked the second letter (which is when I realised he was writing them down) and the third. There he got a little stuck. I told him from the kitchen that he needed to make a line, go aroudn the corner, and then give it a leg. He was making frustrated noises (and I could not see what he was doing) so I reminded him that an R looks like a P with an extra leg (this is all language I have used before when practicing one-on-one). I thought no more about it till I put dinner on the table and glanced at the chalkboard. There was a perfectly legible FIR! I praised him and said there was an 'e' at the end of FIRE. He promptly added the E.

I know, not a genius and perfectly normal and all that, but I am so proud of his initiative and I have to give the credit to the show he was watching: writing, inspired by tv.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Things One Does For One's Child

OK, I am kidding, because I have actually been to a monster truck show before (back in 2000), but I never thought I'd go to another one. Today the combination of my devotion to my child and the invitation of some generous friends got me to attend another one. It was over the top in so many ways (my eyes actually hurt from all the exhaust in the air, despite the ventilation efforts of the Monster Truck Jam crew). Of course we took precautions to protect our ears.

It was a lot of fun to watch all the amazing tricks and stunts. My favorite part was the Freestyle Mania section of the show, when the show floor was filled with bicycles, four-wheelers, and motorcyles all jumping and twirling and flipping everywhere you looked. I even forgot to take photos.

Much to my shock and surprise, Captain Adorable fell asleep about 30 minutes shy of the end of the show. How he slept with all that noise and excitement I will never understand. Still, makes me feel pretty good about the ear protection he was wearing!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Afternoon In The Park

This afternoon my little family went to the park. Our plan was just to spend some time together and look around. We had a great time doing not much, together.
Walking around down on the beach...tide was low.

Me and Captain Adorable walking along the beach.

Down by a different beach we saw deer tracks.

"Writing" in the sand.

The barnacles and the rocks and the water looked beautiful in the late winter sun.

Ooooh! Fallen trees!

Freezing cold and running back to the woods.
The last big hill.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Little (Wonderful and Weird) Changes

As I've written about already, I have been working hard on changing bad diet habits for a while. Yes, my aim is to lose weight but also to give my body the best food I can give it while cooking at home for my family. So losing weight has obvious benefits: I feel better, I look better, my clothes have stopped shrinking in the dryer...but there's more. The many little changes that I notice so much more often than how I look in a mirror. Here are some examples.
  • I no longer have indigestion. Seriously, it is a thing of the past. I used to take Zantac 2-3 times a week. Now? Never. 
  •  My wedding and engagement rings had become uncomfortably tight; so much so that I was beginning to think of putting them aside. Now? They're a little loose--constantly sliding around my finger, clicking together and becoming unattached. 

Weird things I did not know to expect:
  • Not only are my clothes too big, so are my underclothes. I've had to get rid of most of them because they're baggy, they bunch up under my clothes and feel weird and probably look weird, too.
  • My thorecotomy scar looks bigger (dude it is like my whole back now) and seemed to have moved (I used to pull the bra up on the rare occasions I showed it off, now I have to pull it down). My husband says my infinity symbol tattoo is smaller. I don't see it often, seeing as we do not possess a full-length mirror. 
  • The seatbelt in the car never bothers me anymore. Used to be that it would cut into my neck all the time. I think my belly shifted it upward whereas now there is no belly (or much less) and the seat belt stays where it is supposed to be!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Practical Romantic

Last spring, Captain Obvious asked me to learn how to splice line. He bought some line and a splicing kit for me to practice with. I took one look at the directions, realized it would help to see the procedure, and decided to watch some videos on youTube. After one or two of those I put the project aside until another time, when I would be "ready." Which means I forgot about it entirely, since I was scared of it and did not really want to try. A few nights ago Captain Obvious got the kit out and began attempting the splice. Of course I got sucked in and tried to help. We sat together on the floor for a couple of hours with a how-to video inching along second-by-second on youTube, each with a line tied to a leg of the couch, and after total of 4 attempts, I ended up with nothing (my hands are not strong enough to force the fid with the core past the core under the cover, if you want to know precisely) but he had a couple of splices! Not good enough to use on the boat, but still, better than what I made! It was fun to work together, separately and together working on a complex problem. Funny how our minds work, but it reminded me of something that happened at our wedding.

In the months leading up to the Big Day, Captain Obvious and I talked a lot about what our wedding meant to us and carefully picked music and poetry that (hopefully) communicated to our family and friends the way that we loved one another and what we wanted for our lives together. My dad, at our request, got ordained as a minister (online by the Universal Life Church) so that he could be our officiant. I had been wavering a little about the final poem, leaning towards a beautiful but kind of practical one but at the same time pulled towards a much more romantic, passionate one. As far as I remember, my beloved groom was more in favor of the romantic one but was cool with the other one also. I finally decided on the practical one. Since writing this, I asked him and he said he remembers preferring the more romantic one but being cool with either choice.

There was a mix up right before the ceremony and the poem I chose was not on the podium when Dad needed it, so instead he read the romantic one. Prophetic? My husband, the man with whom I have a strong partnership, whom I work so well with, is also the one I love passionately and endlessly.

Here are the poems I am talking about. Both were written by the great Khalil Gibran.

The one I wanted:
Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

The one we got:
Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Gone Again

Feeling a little down and extra tired since my beloved Captain Obvious is gone again. Last week he was out of town for work too, boohoo. I am not complaining about him--I know he is working hard for our family, and I am thankful to him for his efforts. I am just complaining because I miss him. I'd like to see his handsome face and give him a hug and a kiss right now.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Pee Again

It snowed last night and preschool was canceled for today. Even if it had not been I do not know if I would have sent my boy to school since he is sick. No fever, but lots of snot and some coughing. Plus Captain Obvious is out of town again this week, so more time in the house alone with mama. Boring. Ah well, we played with his trains all morning, making several train tracks. But soon my little darling declared that is was hot and I knew what was up next; he took off all of his clothes. He's quite the nudist lately--I am beginning to wonder why we get him dressed in the morning at all.

In the afternoon he was finally allowed to watch his show (Word World) and sat, pleased as punch, looking at the television while eating a cracker. I was reading on the couch and after about 20 minutes I noticed him run to the bathroom, go in very quickly and run right back. About 10 minutes after that, I saw out of the corner of my eye, he made a sudden motion and looked up at me immediately. I put down my book and discovered that he had peed on the ottoman (where he was sitting) and the floor! (It was not much, but really, even a drop is too much pee on the furniture!) I insisted he go pee in the toilet over his loud protestations that he did not have to go. Based on the sound I heard, it was a good thing I insisted! I paused his show, got the upholstery and carpet cleaner and had him help with the clean up (he loves spraying, so this was pretty much fun for him). We then had a talk about what had happened. He knew he had to pee, which was why he went to the bathroom, but he did not want to take the time to go, so he just came back without going. He thought he could hold it for the rest of the show. I think the fact that it came out was completely unexpected! We talked about how it is important to go when you have to go, not to put it off and hold it in too long. I also asked that he put on at least his undies, which he did.

This is actually his third pee accident since late December. The first one happened at a party, so the reason for that one is a bit unclear--was it delay, did he not know where the bathroom was, or something else? The second time was definitely because he was delaying going to the bathroom because he did not want to interrupt what he was doing. This time was because he did not want to take the time away from the tv to pee. There have been a couple of close calls, when one or both parents have had to persuade him to pee. My boy has been potty trained since he was 30 months old (2 and a half years) and he is now suddenly (at over 4 years old) having pee accidents?! Urgh: a new thing to watch for and ask about.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Visit To The Boat Yard

Captain Obvious went to the boat yard today. The boat needs love too, you see. Or at least a lot of snuggling. Oh wait, I meant sanding, not snuggling! Captain Adorable and I went in the afternoon to bring lunch and conversation. It was really, really windy. We ate in the car. After our meal we did get out to walk and play a little.

After a while the two Captains climbed up into the cabin--one to work and one to play. I stayed on the ground. I thought to take a nap in the car, seeing as I am still feeling extra tired and crappy, but was interrupted too soon for any real sleep to occur. Then Captain Adorable and I went drove home and waited for Daddy to join us.

The basement stinks of the anti-bacterial stuff, which is preferable to stinking of poop, but pretty awful. I am looking forward to the fans getting turned off and leaving (maybe Monday) because then I will not have to listen to their incessant noise anymore.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Basement Excitement

Today was an exciting day. Last night we discovered that the sewer line had backed up and we had sewer water all over the inside of our basement. Stinky, disgusting, and depressing. Also potentially a lot of work and very expensive. Of course, my darling Captain Obvious was up early and ready to attack the problem with his usual combination of confidence and optimism. I helped as much as I could (which mainly involved standing by and cheering him on) until he discovered roots and there was nothing more he could do. I drove Capt. Adorable to a much-anticipated outdoor playdate (it was a gorgeous day today--the thermometer in my car said it was 80 degrees farenheit as I pulled out of the parking lot on the way home). Captain Obvious made some calls and got things done. By the time we got home, a temporary fix had been made (they dug a deep hole into the yard removed a big root ball) and they promise to be back at the beginning of the week to make a permanent fix. The insurance company sent out a cleaning service (I mean there was POOP down there--POOP!) to get everything cleaned up. Fortunately, everything that was ruined can be replaced and most of the things that were touched by the POOP but not ruined (wooden furniture as opposed to cushions, for instance) could be washed by the cleaning service using a sprayer and some super-sterile anti-bacterial solution. I had been afraid they'd have to throw everything out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Feeling Off

Since about last Thursday I've been feeling bad. Not terrible, but bad. I have a slightly elevated temp: 99.7, 99.3, 99.6. Some days it has gotten up to 100.2 or even 100.6 but not really a fever. My throat is sore (and red). I'm extra tired and spit up nasty green and brown mucus in the morning. Some coughing and scratchiness in my throat. Why don't I call the doctor? Well, because I am kind of convinced it will not do any good. Last time I went and complained about this type of thing (especially the constantly slightly elevated temp) I just heard that chemo had changed my body temp and that's just the way it was. Not much help, so what's the point in going? Meanwhile Captain Adorable and I are on our own as Capt. Obvious had to travel for work (will be back tomorrow) and I'm feeling icky. Good thing my little guy is so cooperative and helpful. And thank goodness for preschool! ;)

And yes, I will call the doctor and make an appointment. Grumble grumble.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Wonderful Idea

Recently two or three people have suggested that I write a book about my cancer journey. I love this idea--I've always told myself I'd write a book one day (or perhaps even more than one). I've written short stories, poems, even a play, but never anything longer than a couple dozen pages. I've been keeping a diary off and on for years so I guess you could say I am my own favorite subject. (Does that mean I am vain? Or just boring?) But who would care? And who could I convince to publish a book about me?

Seriously, what would my hook be? All I've done is not die. I haven't taken up a raw food diet. I haven't had a religious awakening. I haven't become a crusader for cancer research. It is true that this journey has changed me and has opened my eyes to the joys of life and shown me how supremely lucky I am, but again, no hook. One of the friends who was suggesting the idea said that my hook was that I was a mom throughout my journey. I don't know; I don't think that's much of a hook.

Anyhow, I'm interested enough in the idea that I think about it a lot; perhaps I should do some research and see how likely it would be that anyone would be interested in publishing my story.  I mean sure, it seems bloggers get book deals all the time, but those are usually cookbooks. ;) If any of you, my faithful readers, have any connections, let me know! How I'd love to write my story and share it with an even wider audience.

Friday, February 11, 2011

A Moment of Motherhood Joy

I am, as you know if you've read this blog even once or twice, overjoyed to be a mother. In my experience, there are amazing moments and unadulterated joys in every moment. One of the reasons I am a successful mother is of course the support of my darling husband, the father of our beautiful child. Oh I sound so lecture-y and sentimental but these two people are my life and I adore them both.

This afternoon Captain Adorable and I had finished reading a couple of books (Minerva Louise and the Colorful Eggs by Janet Morgan Stoeke and Masha And The Firebird by Margaret Bateson Hill and Anne Wilson) and I was puttering around in the kitchen, cleaning up and thinking about what I was going to make for dinner when we heard the garage door open (which means Daddy is home) about an hour and a half earlier than usual! Capt. Adorable jumped and asked "Is that Daddy?" I said, "yes," and he ran to look out the dining room window to check for himself. I soon heard a scream of joy followed by the exclamation, "it is Daddy!" Now, I am always happy to greet my husband on his return home but hearing the delight in our son's voice was an additional joy. Oh the love of my child for his father melts me into a puddle of happy, happy love goo......

Monday, February 7, 2011

Weight Loss

This evening I happened to look at my passport. The photo was taken in preparation for our trip to Costa Rica in February 2009. I was really surprised at the very different looking woman in that photo! She had short kinky hair--the chemo do--and a fat swollen face--the chemo face. I was not terribly slender before chemo (haha) but all those drugs and horribleness swelled me up (I gained weight and I had very large cheeks/jowls from the drugs).The photo makes me feel sad because I remember the pain of that time and happy because it is over (for now) and proud because I have changed since then.

Since May 2010 I have been committed to changing some bad eating habits and losing weight. I have lost alllllllmost 30 pounds so far, but the important thing to me is how many deep changes I have made concerning what I choose to put in my mouth. And, obviously, what I show my son about eating habits and diet choices. I feel better. I look better.

Making these types of changes in one's diet is never easy, and I have often struggled with temptation in the form of tempting treats or just old habits. But of course the struggle is worth the end result in the long run (and sometimes even in the short run).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Photo Diary of Sorts

Captain Adorable likes to take photos. He likes to play with the camera. Now and then he takes nice ones (I've even posted one on this blog.) But usually his photos are really just documentation of what he is doing at the time. This evening I was looking through some of his photos and thought I would share a few with you.
First photo of the day. You can see me sitting at the kitchen table, probably eating lunch. You can tell he is already running.

Down the hall.

Into his playroom.

The gas stove.

Some of his paintings.

Blocks on the arm of the couch.

I think this was taken through a block with a hole (marbles can go through these at the end of a ramp).

His flashlight.

Holding his flashlight.
And then there are some white ones (he must have been shining the flashlight directly into the lens). Later there were photos of the carpet. And the toilet. And the cats. And sometimes a self portrait or two. :D

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Inspired By Reading

Captain Adorable and I often go to the library. As you can see from the list of books I've finished reading on the right side of this blog, I read a lot. My son has book fever too. As Captain Obvious says, thank goodness for the library or we'd never be able to afford our book habit. Several weeks ago we found a little gem in the children's section called The Bravest Knight by Mercer Mayer. The book set Capt. Adorable's imagination afire! We kept renewing it and renewing it. Capt. Adorable wanted to take it to preschool with him (where there are plenty of lovely books) and his teacher read it to the class.

I could see he was inspired by this book, and for Hanukkah and Christmas and his birthday he received several knight-themed presents, including, of course, the cherished book (thanks to his uncle!). Now a sword fight with Daddy is one of his daily activities. Of course, he is happy to have a sword fight with whoever will play, but I'm not into it and others brave enough to try do not often repeat the experience. Here are a few photos of this afternoon's battle.

 I should add that the helmet was a project Capt. Adorable and I did together yesterday afternoon. We got the instructions from another library book: Medieval Arms and Armor (First Facts) by Jim Whiting. It is a difficult to see out of and hot (the point of making one was to demonstrate to the child what the knights of old experienced), but Capt. Adorable wants to wear it for every battle now. After this evening's fun he told Capt. Obvious that he ripped it and then took it off! (The aluminum foil did indeed get damaged...)

Friday, January 28, 2011

A Snowy Afternoon

Sometimes people ask me what Captain Adorable and I do at home together all day. I find this question difficult to answer. We do so many things! We read books, do puzzles, play games, play with toys, sing, dance, talk, cook, make art, practice letters, and watch tv. Sometimes we go places togehter. I enjoy his company and I love to spend time with him, every minute of everyday--from waking to his sweet face as he climbs in bed with me at some time of the night or morning, to helping him get dressed, eating breakfast together, and embarking on our day's adventures (even if those adventures take place inside our house).

Here are pics of some of what we did yesterday. Looking back it does not seem like all that much, but spending time together peacefully is perfect fun.

Playing with his knights and castle. Some dinosaurs and dragons were involved also.

He suggested we make a collage. I found some cool origami paper I've had packed up for a while. He sure enjoys cutting but wants me to help too, so I oblige with shapes he is not yet dexterous enough to create.

We pulled a fresh bread out of the oven and had lunch.

Time for glueing.

I mixed some water with the glue to make it possible to apply it with a brush.

A look outside at the snow.

The Tyrannosaurus Rex is eating the knights!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Letters In The Tub

Background: For a long time now (maybe 2 years) we've had a set of letters for the bathtub. Foam letters that stick to the tiles when they are wet. When he was learning the alphabet they were wonderful! However, Capt. Adorable had so many bathtub toys that they became an inconvenience more than anything else, partly because the boy himself insisted on having Every Single Toy In The Tub for every bath. I finally put away most of the toys when we moved into this house about a year ago, the foam letters included. However, somehow or another he found the toys and convinced Oma to let him have them all during his baths while she is here. When she leaves I let him choose 10 (I know, I limit him so!) and those are the only ones till she comes the next time.

So, since he's been showing so much interest in writing and putting together words lately, this last time that Oma left I allowed him to keep all the letters and numbers (somehow or another a few are missing). Tonight when he was in the bath he asked me to help him put words together. Of course I said yes and the first one he wanted help with was his own name. :) Then we went through the names of some classmates, then Daddy's name, then my name, then Oma and then Opa. After that the boats were more interesting. But I managed to get a pic for you!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Letters and Cars

Over the last few days, with some encouragement and coaching from both parents, Captain Adorable has begun to write letters on the chalkboard. We are gently encouraging him to write a few letters each day. Most letters he initiates and writes on his own, but some he traces over the example letter written by the parent. This is so much fun! I really enjoy doing this with him! Also, just yesterday(at our friends' house) he watched a television show called Word World which is designed just for kids on the cusp of reading and it was a big hit. Well, I guess if he's going to watch tv it is good to at least watch something educational.

Also, starting this morning, he has discovered that the hallway in our house is perfect for playing with cars. It has a laminate floor, so cars slide across it with ease. We each sit and one end of the hall and just zoom them at each other over and over. I think we've played this game for a total of about 2 hours today! At one point he had to take a bathroom break and he requested that I continue "shooting" the cars so that he could hear "that beautiful sound" while he was busy in the bathroom! I am pretty sure we will be doing this a lot for the next few weeks.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ice Drill!

Today was beautiful--almost 50! Almost all the ice and snow has melted and gone. After our usual schedule of getting up and dressed and downstairs, we ate breakfast and then took the bread dough we made (well, really that Capt. Adorable made) yesterday and set to rise overnight out of the bowl and gave it another little nap. While the dough napped for another two hours, we read books (The Cat In The Hat, Horton Hears A Who, Gai See or What You Can See in Chinatown, and The art book for children Book two), played hide and seek (he hid really, really well!), and put together puzzles. Finally it was time to put the dough in the oven. When it came out at last we listened to the crackling noises it made while it cooled enough to cut and eat. And then we ate it. YUM!

After lunch we went out. First to the big playground, then to the marina. At the marina we discovered a whole group of firefighters doing an ice rescue drill. About 5-6 fire trucks/rescue vehicles and all sorts of fire fighters! We got to see two late comers don the dry suits and get in the water (which had ice, despite the warm sun!). Lots of fun. They say they'll be back tomorrow. I suppose we will go watch again tomorrow. :)

Once they left, we climbed on the rocks to check out the water and the ice more closely.

After a couple of hours rambling around in the warm sun, we came home. Captain Adorable was not ready to stop playing and had some independent fun in his play room.