Wednesday, December 22, 2010

In Vein.....

Yesterday a sad thing happened in the chemo room...well TWO sad things happened but one was very dark and real and awful and I don't feel like thinking about it anymore. Needless to say there were some very ill people in there yesterday which seems to go without saying but some days.....man. It's worse some days than others is all.

BUT back to me me me...so I have this vein. He lived in my wrist just under my right thumb. He was strong and has held up for the 20 some treatments I've had. Yesterday he finally blew. I noticed that it hurt more than usual when Isabell was putting the needle in but then after some painful pushing she got it in. Then when she went to do the saline flush the preceeds the Avastin drip he basically exploded. Blood blood blood all over. Super gross. I immediatly YELLED out "OH NO!! MY GOOD VEIN!" like I'd stepped on my glasses or something. (note:Crescent doesn't even WEAR glasses...she's a LIAR). Isabell found that to be hysterical but I was quite serious. I loved that vein. It never bruised and really never hurt too much. He was a trooper. I was hoping he could stick (pun pun pun pun alert!) out the last few treatments with me but it was his time.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alive

I just had lunch with Eva, one of my favorite people on the planet. Smart, hilarious, insightful, likes football...just love her. We ate big and when I left I felt like I needed about 49 more hours to finish our discussions. People like that rule and I'm blessed with a lot of them in my life.

Anyway, we were talking about how shaken up I was by Elizabeth Edwards death. Of course a lot of it was just being so sorry that she was gone and admiring her spirit. But there was a very selfish side to my feelings.....her cancer had been taken care of..in remission...they got it all out.....then it came back. In her bones. I don't like that one bit. It scares the living shit out of me. Every pain I have sends me into a hotflash of nerves....picturing the cells spreading. Or I think of my mom...wondering...ugh...just wondering. I can't even say it.

This is normal, I realize that. But it's hard. It shocks you awake at 3am with a giant lump in your throat (is that lump cancer????) no it's just the sobs. (Not to be confused with the S.O.B.s....those guys are jerks.) It paralyzes you when you get a shooting pain in your breast during a staff meeting. It removes every ounce of trust you had in anything ever being easy or safe again. It may be easy here and there...but it won't stay easy. Knowing that is hard. It's sad sometimes. Makes me feel like all my little girl cells are gone forever.

It also infuses every moment of my seemingly normal day with weight and beauty that runs so deep that it starts to feel like my blood. It makes me crazy excited to be home and warm and watching our awesome TV with the cat and my husband after a long day at work. It makes coffee taste better than ever. It makes me laugh so hard at my friends jokes that I cry. It makes me look at Jason and see him with a clarity and love that I've never known. It makes me feel alive. From stem to stern....alive. That is a gift. A Christmas miracle if you will...and you WILL...or ELSE.

There is a picture of me from last Christmas Eve sitting at the table waiting for everyone to come in for dinner. I look pale, lost, unhealthy and terrified. I had good reason but it's a horrible picture. Someone took it during the short moment where I let my guard down and thought no one was looking. The rest of the day I spent trying to seem as happy as possible, but I was "white knucklin' it" as J and I say.

The magical thing is that this year I am happy. For real. I'm still terrified but I'm truly happy.

I will be with my mom who needs us right now. I will be with my dad who needs us right now. They will be with me because I need them right now. It's a lovely little thing called unconditional love. We has it (sic). There's not a single guarantee but there's love. Thank God for that or we'd all be curled up in a ball waiting for the next kick to the gut.

So here's to Christmas. Whatever your beliefs....whatever you celebrate I'll bet dollars to donuts it's about love. That's the spirit. That's the real reason for the season.

And MAN do I love you guys. All of you. Thank you again for being my reason for happiness this year. My reason for being okay even when I'm not. No matter what is next I still have it all.

Friday, December 03, 2010

my fortune

I just had a conversation via gchat with one of my oldest and dearest friends. I asked her for a favor...something that would be a help to my family. It wasn't that she said yes that moved me it was how she said yes. Not only was there no hesitation in her reply but there was a joy to it that reduced me to tears. This has happened so much this year. I don't even know where to put it. That feeling of being sad and worried and helpless then having these people...these friends that just say "here you go" and then "what else would help?"

Not to get all George Baily on everyone, but man...it makes me feel so rich and full.

I'm going to find a way to make millions and when I do I'm taking all of you to a warm and pretty place for a month.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Blessing (if you are in my family don't read this post yet)

Every time I say those words I picture the old man in Christmas Vacation pointing to his mouth and saying "THE BLESSS-ING!" to his old deaf wife. Adorable. Anywhat, I volunteered to do the blessing at Thanksgiving dinner this year. I feel like my dad needs a break...in general. Just from having to do emotional things. Taking care of his daughter last year....taking care of his wife during chemo now....being there for his brother as his brother takes care of his wife who is about to face chemo and just had major surgery. As I say....poor everyone. Really. Everyone needs a hug and some turkey and peace and quiet and a fire in the fireplace.

So since I'm feeling pretty strong and deep these days I decided to take a crack at the reading. God means different things to everyone and to me. Interpret however you see fit but I think the message is right no matter what you believe.

Here is what I will say:

After a difficult year I feel like we all have our dukes up…feeling vulnerable and untrusting…waiting for the next punch from around a corner. But maybe instead we should try, as I think we already do, to look back with thanks and grace…then do our best to look forward with the same.



Blessings continue to abound during darker times……roofs over heads, food in bellies, limbs all attached (so far…the day is young and the turkey not yet carved so everyone BE CAREFUL!)…and most importantly the love that we all share. It breathes with us at every turn and has provided the extra layer of warmth we’ve needed to trudge through some pretty chilly paths.



I found three quotes that spoke to me as one fluid prayer. A.W. Tozer, Henry Ward Beecher and Rebecca Harding Davis might not like me mixing their words into one pot, but too bad. They can take it up with my lawyer once they learn how to communicate from BEYOND THE GRAVE!!!

Let us pray.


“Perhaps it takes a purer faith to praise God for unrealized blessings than for those we once enjoyed or those we enjoy now.”



“Remember God's bounty in the year. String the pearls of His favor. Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light! Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!”



“For, after all, put it as we may to ourselves, we are all of us from birth to death guests at a table which we did not spread. The sun, the earth, love, friends, our very breath are parts of the banquet.... Shall we think of the day as a chance to come nearer to our Host, and to find out something of Him who has fed us so long?”



Thank you God, for the blessings of yesterday, tomorrow and today.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Another milestone

Tomorrow is one year since my surgery. Crappily enough, my aunt is having her surgery today. She will have to have a bi-lateral mastectomy though, which breaks my heart, but will hopefully be a life saver for her. Obviously, I have her on the brain and in the heart pretty much every second today. I just hope it's not too horrible and that the spread is minimal or non-existent.

It reminded me of my happiest moment of the past year.

The day of my lumpectomy I was terrified. Worried it would be in my lymph nodes, worried I would have some weird reaction to the meds...just worried. I woke up feeling more nauseated than I have ever felt in my life but incredibly relieved it was over. The FIRST thing they said to me was "no spread to the nodes...blah blah something something...clear margins." I started bawling and laughing and then announced that I was naked in a very loud voice. They assured me I wasn't naked but I assured THEM I think I would know my own nakedness. I wasn't naked.

Anyway, after I came to a little more they had me sit up in a little room and brought me the best soda (special drink) of my LIFE. It was a giant Tupperware full of crushed ice and Sprite with a straw. I wish I could create for you how good it was after the surgery....it was like....relief in bubbly, cold, refreshing form. Form makes it sound gross but you know what I mean.

So then they said I could have one visitor come back and sit with me. I said "Jason...my husband". He walked in through the curtain about 3 minutes later...white faced (Jason loses all pigment under duress), shaky but smiling from ear to ear. To enter that area you had to wear a lab coat???? Don't ask me why. But in his rush he chose the smallest most 1970's looking lab coat I've ever seen. Plus he tried to button it for some reason which just added to the hilarity. It instantly got us both giggling and we just sat there laughing and taking pictures of him with clipboards making doctor faces in this tiny little recovery space. It was the laughter of two very nervous and flipped out people with a long road ahead of them, but laughter none the less.

I realized today that I use that memory as a "happy moment" when I'm down. I don't really have any resolution for that story except that maybe that was the moment that secured me and J as a family. From that moment on I knew I could count on him to show up with or without a ridiculous lab coat on for the rest of our lives. Plus there was this look on his face that I'm sure he'd felt before but I had never seen or understood. Just nothing but love for me in his eyes. What a gift.

I know my uncle Deacon will be there today for Terri with the patent pending Allen family sense of humor even when things are pretty effing BLEAK and the tenderness and love she'll need.

I wish I had a funny something today...I'm drawing a blank. If I could only find the pic of J in that labcoat!!!! I've looked everywhere and can't find it. Frowntown. Oh well it's burned on my brain (hi steph).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Come on.

Just got word that my aunt has breast cancer. If it weren't so God awful and unfair it would be a laugh riot. But it's not. It's the opposite of a laugh riot. A Crying Sit-In? Whatever. Not. Fair.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Walked.



Well I actually did a Breast Cancer walk even though I swore I never would. I always thought they were an odd and kind of dumb way to raise money but I was wrong. We raised almost $3500.00. That's a few mammograms!

The walk, itself, was so cathartic for me and just such a great way to spend a morning. There were people there in the throws of cancer...bald heads...canes...sick...but walking. It lifted every cell in my body. Plus being with this group of people that were on my team was just amazing. I would walk quietly for a bit then turn to my left or right and a friend would be walking by my side. We'd talk and the group would mix up and someone would rub my back and it would be Erica or Megan or Gena....then a few mins later an arm would go around my shoulder and it would be Heather or Anne or Morgan. It just meant so much to me. Not just the walk...this whole year has been like that. Every time I turn around one of you are there. I hope my mom has that. I know it was what got me through this year with my spirit, not just in tact, but renewed in way I never knew exisited.

I talked to my mom on the walk and she's having a pretty hard time. Her infection keeps coming back and that on top of chemo is just the worst. I can't wait for her to be on the other side. I keep promising her this side is really great and that it will get better. In the meantime.....ugh. It kills me to know she's so miserable.

Something funny...I thought the walk was 2.2 miles. I SWEAR I saw that specific number on the info I received but it was a 5 mile walk. It was really easy and fun but I find it hilarious that when I found out it was FIVE whole miles I almost had a panic attack. It's good to know I can handle walking that far without passing out. I'm probably ready for a marathon now. Those are easy, right?

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

A year ago today.....

I started a rubber band ball.


And found out I had cancer.

Here was most post from a year ago:
Oh Tom Petty...
you were so right. The waiting is the hardest part....so far. Let's pray it remains the hardest. I have never felt so anxious 24/7 in my life. It sucks. Not as much as cancer would suck of course but I'm hoping for good news.


Here was the next post:
welp....
....it's cancer. BUT it's only stage 2 which is way better than stage three. I meet with the surgeon tomorrow to see what's next. I'm doing okay actually. Three things that have been lovely since I found out.

1. Jason.
2. My oldest sister telling me that my she and my middle sister "are sisters again" thanks to this. That made my birthday. They are always great but have had some hard times and found each other again through this. I think I might have cried harder over that than anything because it made me so happy.
3. The realization that I have more love in my heart and in my life than I ever imagined. That will get me through.

I'm ready to fight. Up for it all. Feeling lucky and amazed that I'm, literally, facing my biggest fear and it's really not that bad. I'm scared but ready. Sad but joyful. Certainly the furthest from alone I've ever been. Let's get it done.

Love to all,
C


I don't really know what to say today. I feel quiet for the first time since Carter was in office. I feel different and fortunate and relieved. I feel scared down to my bones about life. I feel ready for the change that is coming. I feel good.

from today:


Friday, October 01, 2010

Oh...hello

I like it when events make a point of saying "Rain or shine!" on their websites or flyers. That's the spirit, event havers! I don't know why but it always makes me feel better about things. RAIN OR SHINE we are DOING this! Got it? It's just so...plucky and optomistic.

My mom and dad shaved their heads last night. (if not for the crappy circumstances that very well might have been the funniest sentence I've ever typed) She found her first bald spot and decided it was time. My dad did his own first in a lovely fit of unity. They sent me a picture and it gave me the shakes at first but only because I know how hard it is and I can hardly BARE the thought of her feeling scared and sad. BUT that is precisely how you are supposed to feel about your Momma so it's okay. I stared at the picture this morning and I realized for the 87,578th time in my life how beautiful my mom is. All face is a powerful thing...eyes and smile...it's just so exposed. Ack...makes me cry to type about. I just love her so much. And Dad. Jeeze louise. Or Jeeze louis as I used to think it was spelled.

okay....getting back on top of it......annnnnd...we're back.

I had drinks with some really outstanding humans last night. You know who you are. All of you gave me the inspiration shivers. Made me want to just kidnap all of you and hide you in the basement to remind me how great my friends are on a daily basis. What??? Why is that creepy??? I was going to provide a deluxe air mattresses and food. Jeeze louis....paranoid much?

Tonight is stay home date night. I'm very excited. Thai food and movies that give me the night terrors....ahhh...I can't wait.

OH and Jason will be there of course....but I have to admit I keep singing Tonight I celebrate my love for you.....but Jason's face fades away and I realize I'm singing to the giant plate of spicey basil noodles that I'm going to make my bride around sundown.

Enjoy my SECOND favorite Peabo B. smooth jam. Feel free to read along with the lyrics provided. You just might learn something about second chances and arms.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

OH!

I know what it was. It was that I went to LUSH at Macy's yesterday to get a new shampoo bar and had an attack of my old "I feel out of place in a fancy store" itis.

The 94 lb woman came over and said "can I help you?" as they tend to do and I said "oh not really...I just need a shampoo bar" (proceed to pick up display bar and knock about 20 over onto the floor)

Then when I went to pay I followed her behind the register for some reason. When I realized where I was I said "Ooop! sorry." not "oops" like a semi-normal person, but "oop."

see? Profound.

But PS? the yellow shampoo bar at Lush RULES. It was worth the bumbling.

A Couple Fat Ankle Steps in the Right Direction

My ankles are swoll to the EN, man. It's from my blood pressure meds but it's nuts. They look like balloons.

Anyway, I am finally going to talk to someone just to get some profesh listening. I just feel a little extra anxious and want to work on that. So good work, me.

I also purchased a work out t. That outta do it! 130 lbs here I come! hahahah just kidding.

My mom is hanging in there. First two days post her first chemo and she's not feeling fantastic, obvs, but not too bad. I hope it stays that way. I'm sending her my fanciest wig tomorrow.

I really really wish I could just do all this for her. I know how it works and stuff and know there's a light at the end. BUT this is what's happening and I have to deal with that. She is tough and my dad is amazing and my sisters rule. It will all be okay. I mean it won't be because I've learned that nothing is ever ALWAYS okay. Life is going to be bad a lot and good a lot. I'm trying to just embrace the chaos and hope it makes sense someday. I feel like it will.

In other news, I'm going to church with my sister on Sunday. If you hear on the news that someone burst into flames upon entering a Wisconsin UCC Church.....well....you can have my carnival mirror collection if that happens.

I had a lot to say last night in my head and have forgotten most of it. I'm sure it was exceptionally profound and important. Probably more about my ankles.

Love,
C

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh.............

that's how i'm feeling. i don't even want to capitilize today. mom had her first treatment. they have to do 16 now instead of 6 because they found more spread to her nodes. three instead of one.

our good friend's dog is sick and another good friend has a sick cat. both have a few weeks left. that makes me saaaaaaad.

i found some gum i really like. that's good.

*shoulder shrug*

love,
c

Monday, August 30, 2010

Team Janet

Well it's finally come to this. I'm walking in a friggin Breast Cancer Walk on October 17th. However, I will NOT wear a pink hat or boa no matter how much pressure is put on me. I'll pink it up, don't worry, but no ball caps or boas. It's just too....something....I don't know. I refuse. Like Kramer with the AIDS ribbon.

Anyway, here is the info if you want to walk with us or donate.


http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer/MSABCFY11Illinois?team_id=769251&pg=team&fr_id=28099

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Looks like this blog will have to stay pink a little longer....



So the stupid cancer spread to her lymph nodes. We are waiting to see how many they spread to. So far only one sentinal node for sure. This probably means chemo for my mom. Dammit. I have been really angry the past few days but after kicking a box across my kitchen and eating a really outlandishly large plate of Marge Noodles (TM) I woke up feeling better. Ready to fight for and with her.

I will only say this once then I'm putting it in the shredder. This really is kind of unfair.

Done. Now onto the next battle. She is done with surgery already which is a HUGE plus. She is sore but able to get around. She will have to postpone her knee replacment until all this is over but she is still going to get that done. Right now it's all about kicking the cancer in the BH and being done with it.

Good things:

I've never felt closer to her. Or to my family in general. As my sister Kendra says "but shit....we were ALREADY close it's not like we needed to be taught a lesson!". True Kendra...true BUT now we are this crazy primal close like a pack of wolves. I feel like we are all in our roles and ready to face the bad parts of life together. There is some real comfort in being on a team like that.

Jason. Again. He's gotten so good and knowing how to help me feel my feelings and making me feel better all at once. Sometimes just by being quiet and patting my head.

My friends. Again. Just non stop support. I feel embarassed being in need again. I know I can't help it...I mean it's my mom...but jeeze. I can't wait to not be the one crying every two minutes. Not that I am crying every two minutes all the time...but sometimes.

Anyway, that's the current state of the union. Breast cancer can really go take a flying leap off a short cliff or whatever that expression is...plank? Whatever. I hate it.

but I love you!
Crescent

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Surgery Day For Mom



Please just let it all be good news and easy on her. Please please please. Please let her be able to go to her 50th high school reunion in a week and dance.

I took this pic in the garden when I was home this past weekend. It's on my phone, my computer and in my mind at all times. The five of us...start to finish and everything in between. Go Allens. We can do it!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stop Me If You've Heard This One...

....so my mom has breast cancer. Sounds like a sick joke right? nope. It's really happening. She called me on Saturday to say that's probably the case. Then found out Monday it's for sure the case. My family is kind of reeling from it all. It just doesn't seem like this could be possible.

BUT let's save the drama for my mama. Here is the GREAT news. The tumor is small. Really small. To give you some idea my tumor was considered medium at two centimeters and hers is like 1.5 millimeters...I think...those are tiny right? Math. Who needs it?! Anyway, you get the idea.

So she has all the tests still. MRI, further pathology, blood work, scans and all that, but the doc thinks she will be able to avoid chemo. God I hope so. I don't want her to have that at ALL. Sounds like she won't so here's to yearly mammos, right??? Jeez. TRY and tell me they are pointless. Just try.

Anyway, I'm tired. Kind of worn out. But fine.

My treatments have been kind of put on hold because my blood pressure is too high. They think that's from stress and the Avastin. If it's too high again in three weeks I'm pulled from the clinical trial. I really hope that doesn't happen. Of course I will deal with it but I've come so far and to just have to throw out my study results from all this will make me sad. I want to feel like I'm helping or something.

Dr. C doubled my blood pressure meds so that is taking a little getting used to. I get kind of dizzy and sleepy but hey...what else is new. I'm losing weight every week so that will help too. I'm going to try some meditation CDs my friend recommended. All that HAS to work in the next three weeks right? Right.

Let's end on a high note.

I haven't been sleeping very well at all. So at like 9pm I'm exhausted and crash (but then wake up at 3 and can't get back to sleep...you know how that goes). Anyway, I crashed out on the sofa on Monday while watching Beavis and Butthead Do America for the 89th time. Jason was working a shift at the wine bar and he got home pretty late. I don't remember this at all, but I guess he kept saying "Crescent, you want to come to bed" trying to get me from the sofa to the bed so I'd sleep better. You know, being the great guy he always is. I rewarded him by sitting up and yelling "DON'T ASK ME THAT AGAIN!" and shook my finger and everything. I did it in my sleep but that doesn't make it right.

He left me out on the sofa, naturally.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Happy Birthday.

It's Jason's birthday. And my boss's. And a co-worker's. And Obama's. But Jason is the most important to me, supes obvs. (working on my Effron speak..kids abbrev ev thing apparant....coo th t do)

What would I do without him? I don't even care to wonder. I love him to the point of excess and still giggle like a 14 year old when he texts me a lot in a day. Hmmmm....re-reading that I feel like maybe Jason should be a little afraid of me. hahahahah nah. I'm harmless.

We have a sort of on going joke about murdering each other and what not...life insurance is usually the punch line but sometimes it's just good old fashioned killin. I know it's a dark joke but we've earned the right to joke however we please.

In fact we've been doing the off color jokes about our love for years.

Our private wedding toast to each other at our reception was "F*&$ you buddy." TINK! (that was the glass that made that sound just now...in my memory...sighhhh).

so in the spirit of our twisted but true love here was my birthday email to him today:

Dear Jason,

Your facebook page is warming my heart today. Everyone loves you so much!!!!! Except me. I loathe you and wait for the day when I can give you the ol "Chief" treatment in the night. Then I'll throw our fridge through the back window and lumber off to music played on a saw.


His reply:

Nice.

I also included this picture, which I think adds some extra ominous tones to the whole experience:



Monday, July 26, 2010

I am starting to look like Zac Effron and loving it.





It's true. I have total Zac Effron hair right now. I'll take it. I don't have his dreamy blue locker room eyes, sadly.

Radiation is over. I feel great besides a shoulder tendon pull from laying in that radiation bed for 6 weeks. Nothing major.

We leave for Denver on Friday. Just three days but it will be very fun. Our trip to Hayward with my sister and brother in law was epic and wonderful. Jason and I both cried on our first boat ride. For me they were relief tears. For him they were "I'm scared I will feel this worried forever." tears. Both healthy and normal I think. Once that was done we just had nothing but fun.

I guess I should talk about my feelings....hmmmm

I feel odd. Good. Changed. Ready for something very new. So happy with Jason it almost hurts but doesn't. 17 pounds lighter, literally. 300 pounds lighter figuratively. I'm starting to forget the physical pain and chemo/surgery feelings which is good. I'll never forget they were there but they aren't on my surface all the time anymore.

Mostly I'm just really excited about the upcoming Disney Special Musical presentation I'm currently shooting called "High School Musical 46! We Failed Math and are Being Held Back!" It's got some great jams in it and my real life girlfriend, Vanessa Hudgens, and I might break up! Tune in to see.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Life Lessons on the 50 Damen bus


I was riding the bus to Rush Medical today for radiation and was feeling heavily brained. What's next? How do I get to a point where I love what I do? When will I start doing what I love? Etc.

RIGHT as I was thinking this I looked out the window and saw some graffiti that said, "try harder". Deal. That makes sense.

About 3 miles later I looked out again and on a garage it said "forgive yourself".

Double deal.

Onward.

PS - my leftness hurts.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Leftness

No I'm not talking political leanings....am I right people??? (leans on mic stand...snaps rainbow suspenders) but seriously folks...what IS the deal with ugg boots?

Anyway, My Leftness is my new term for my area that is being radiated. It includes my breast, obviously, otherwise I would have been diagnosed with blank cancer. It also includes my arm pit and collar area, etc. Anyway, it hurts inside! I can tell it's cooking. It doesn't burn but it feels like I have a bunch of cut up muscles in my boob. Horrible sounding I know but it isn't. It only hurts when I bump it....solution? Don't bump it! I protect it like a ming vahhhhhze. ming. hahahhaha

I've started talking to my leftness too. In my head I keep saying, "Leftness...when all of this is over I'm going to take you out for a nice seafood dinner and maybe see a movie. Hop over to the Poconos for a long weekend just the two of us. Sumthin real nice, baby."

I'm not sure why I'm a bad Italian stereo type mafia husband in this senario but i'mma gonna run wit it.

Time to go eat a steak with my husband in the yard.

Love and pizza pies,
Crescent

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

some things.

Things are fine. Had my Avastin infusion today and then radiation and x-rays. Back at work pluggin away. I have been a little crabby this week and I keep praying it's PMS but no luck on that front yet.

I woke up and decided to try and not take everything too seriously. That seems to be working. I also decided to drink one Slurpee a day. They are terrible for me but really up my happy levels.

My trip home with Megan for my nephew's graduation was outstanding. Emotional but great. My family is just so good for each other. I was homesick before I even left.

7-11 has pretty good roast beef on light rye sandwiches.

What else....oh lost five lbs and BP (blood pressure not the spilly oil co) is down again a little bit which is good. They think it's up from the Avastin but either way I could stand to lose oh say....four gazillion lbs.

Essentially all you really need to take from this post is that 7-11 provides most of your daily needs in one convenient location of which there are many across the greater Chicagoland area.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

WARNING! CANCERY POST! MORE THAN NORMAL!

*this was hard to write and will be harder to read for some more than others. Be careful sweet friends who know who they are*

There was a young guy, Jason's age at most, in the radiation ward/clinic/area that just about did me in today. I couldn't look at his face but I know he was tall and ill and bone thin and terrified. I didn't really look at him because it felt....I don't know....just not for me to see. But I'm telling you hand to God...I could feel his fear. It was holding him hostage. The way the nurses (he had to have two to help him walk) were speaking to him had that tone...trying to sooth him....ugh....I can hardly write about this. Taking break. Please hold. (Girl From Impenema - Musak Version 5).

Okay. Had a stick of gum and put on some lipstick like my Mama always taught me when in need of getting ones self together.

So it was awful. And palpatable. And just heartbreaking. He was in my world for no more than 20 seconds but I feel like I will never get him out of my head.

He just felt like he was a sad and skinny and afraid representation of all that stupid cancer is. It made me so mad and confused. And so selfishly happy for my life and my hopeful outcome. It was a truly consuming moment and I hate talking and thinking about it but I need to get it down.

Man. Dang it. Please know your call is important to us. We will be back with you shortly. (Classical Gas - Musak Version 1).

Pheww...so let's get to the titular brighter side of this story, shall we?

On my cab ride home I put my phone away and rolled down the window and took in as much air as my lungs could handle without combusting and I realized what I want and feel like I have to do with my life. I need to find a way to take even the smallest pinch of that fear away from people going through this. I'm not sure exactly how that will be yet but I can tell it's going to come to me soon. Because the fear is what I can't get over. Seeing it in others much sicker than I am....feeling it in my own heart....hearing it in every word my family says to me...it's terrible. It's a cancer unto itself. I am not as scared anymore but it will always be there now. Like my boob scar. The only way to reconcile my anger at that fact is to find a way to ease some of that fear in someone else. Maybe that's sign one of a God complex and I'm actually not having an epiphany but rather about to snap my noodle and run for Mayor of Looney Toon County. Either way.

Since day one of this little adventure I knew a message was waiting for me on the other side. An answer. I've trusted in that this whole time and I can feel it happening.

Ohhh I sound so dramatic and I hate that. But crap...it has been dramatic. Dramatically good and dramatically hard and dramatically terrifying and I will never be the same. Nor should I be.

Anyway, I love you all and something weird is going on at work (just construction guys...not like WEIRD weird). I better go.

Kittens.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Into The Groove....

I keep trying to post this and I keep losing it....by "it" I mean the post not my cool or anything.

So let's sum it up fast and furious, shall we?

Feeling way into the swing of radiation already. Feels like part of my day. Love the techs and doctors. The waiting room is cold. Two latin sisters fighting everyday. Cab rides.

Got it? Good.

Love,
C

PS - I tried to post a pic of my hair growing back but it's not working. It's on Facebook anyways. Go there to see if you are so inclined. Smooches!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I Want To Lay Around Wit Choo.




I am nervous about my first radiation but not so much about the procedure, more about getting there and back to work in a timely fashion. I'm going to try route one of three today and see how that goes. It will involve me taking the pink line train with seems fitting. The Breat Cancer Train!

I also noticed I ate pink yogurt and half a pink doughnut today inadvertently. Oh god. And I'm wearing pink. I swear I didn't even notice that until just this second. Too tooooo funny.

On the train ride to work today I ALMOST got overwhelmed by the 32 radiation treatments coming my way and was kind of tearing up behind my Panama Jack sunglasses (don't be so jealous....it's not for me to say how cool I am because I fashion shop at CVS) when I remembered Jason's song to me last night.

We had opened special bed up for a rare appearance to stay cool and watch movies. He was on the sofa and I was on special bed watching the hockey game. I was just about to nod off and Jason starting singing "I just want to lay around wit-chooo...." in his best R&B high voice. Then he'd laugh at himself. Then he'd sing it again. The whole time pushing me over to make room for himself. Certainly falls under the category of "you had to be there" but it was very funny to me.

Anyway, that song came into my head at JUST the right pre-meltdown moment this a.m. and I started laughing to myself. (I'm sure they are THIS close to putting up posters on the train "Beware of Crying/Laughing Girl in Wig".

So I feel better now, thanks to Jason and his wacky song stylings. I can get through this portion of treatment too. It will be fine and I have to take it day by day as I have the rest.

It will get me out of the office every day. It will add some good walking to my weight loss plan. It will cut the chances of my cancer coming back by almost 70%.

These are good things. Bring on the boob rays!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Things I Want To Make Sure I Don't Forget Part 1



One winter day I listed to this song after a rough few days. I heard it and felt like I might, truly, collapse into a black hole. Soooo dramatic but it's true. It happens. We've all been there and will be there again. Those songs that just capture you and seem to pop out of thin air with your exact emotions and memories. My sister Kendra would always say "This song makes me feel weird" in a certain Kendra voice that meant it made her feel a little sad or a little understood or a little too grown up too fast....take your pick.

I'm quite sure this song isn't about me and Jas. In fact I feel a little embarrassed to take it as ours since it's probably about war and the horrible state of the world. But as a good friend once said about a giant bag of Carmel corn..."I'm just gonna have some....k?".

We have word out to Jeff Tweedy that my cancer recovery wish is for him to play one round of washers with my husband at a BBQ. If that happens we might just ask him to write a song that's REALLY about us. I'm sure he wouldn't mind. He's not busy or cool or anything. (My thought bubble just drew a heart around JT's face and I sighed...for real.)

Back to the song.....the melodies...the chord progressions.....the words.....this year just balled up in a song. Every time I hear it I cry and cry and love Jason beyond any word in any language. Or maybe it's more that it makes me love us. I've always loved him but the duo we've become this year.....man...I don't even know how to finish that sentence.

Anyway, music. Is there anything it can't do? Okay it can't cure cancer but I bet it's working on it.

Lyrics below:
Wake up we're here
It's so much worse than we feared
There's nothing left here
The country has disappeared
If the winter trees bleeding, leave red blood
The summer sweet dreaming, april blush
But none of that is ever gonna mean as much to me again.

Hold out your hand,
there's so much you don't understand
So stick as close as you can,
all of the best laid plans
You've got the white clouds hanging so high above you
You've got the helicopters dangling angling to shoot,
the shots to feed the hungry weekend news crew anchorman.

So every evening we can watch from above,
crushed cities like a bug
Fold ourselves into each others guts,
and turn our faces up to the sun.

I won't take no
I won't let you go
All by yourself
Oh no you need my help
When the cold night shakes you like a chandelier
The snowflakes break through the atmosphere,
and melt on the blue breath of the auctioneers and disappear.

Every evening we can watch from above,
crushed cities like a bug
Fold ourselves into each others blood,
and turn our faces up to the sun.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

This is how happy I feel about how I feel....



I've been joking that this picture (taken by my brother-in-law at my last treatment) should be the cover of Cancer Today Magazine. Not that there is one but there should be! Or Cancer Havers! or Cosmocancertin.

Anywayyyyy I am feeling great. Great great great. That horrible fog in my head from the chemo has lifted and I feel vibrant again. Like my laugh sounds more like my own and my emotions feel more....feely. It rules. I can't even believe I'm to this point.

I keep having these moments where everything lands on me all of a sudden and I feel like screaming and crying and break dancing and high kicking and eating with my mouth wide open right in someone's ear and punching walls and laughing like a lunatic all at once.

I had my first Avastin treatment Tuesday and I was nervous. I mean I've been getting Avastin the whole time with the chemo but I got it in my head that it might make me feel sick again. It didn't! Not at all! It was easy like a Sunday morning. I will get "infused" with that drug every three weeks until January 11th or so.

I start radiation on Tuesday. That is going to be a giant pain in the A but 6.5 weeks goes by really fast in the grand scheme of things. I will go every week day but it only takes about 30 minutes. I'm hoping not to have too many side effects (god...how those words have entered my vernacular sackular this year...side effects side effects side effects...terrible words).

The best news of the day is that my hair is already starting to thicken up. I would say by August I will be able to comfortably go wig and scarf free. Fantastic fantastic.

I have a little naggy fear that I imagine will never go away from all this. Side effect. Will it come back? Will someone I love get it? Will I take enough from it? and so forth. Seems normal to me so I'm not going to worry about it at this juncture. Wouldn't be prudent.

That's right. I just did a G-Dub Senior/circa 89 Dana Carvey joke. I'm back, ladies and germs.

Monday, May 17, 2010

ahhhhh

After two of the hardest weeks ever post treatment I am finally feeling like myself again! It just hit me today that I won't have to feel those chemo feelings again!!!!! No more everything tasting like salt. No more sours in my mouth or tooth aches. No more nausea. No more shots! No more knee aches and head aches. No more waking up sure that heaven is a'callin!

Even though I know all of that it still hasn't all sunk in. All of this. I had a moment where I almost realized what just happnened but it started to make me feel a little shakey so I decided to wait a bit. I'll face it all down one of these days but for now I am just so happy that I am slowly but surely feeling whole again.

I start radiation on June 1st every day for 6.5 weeks so once THAT is done I think I will really feel some more freedom. I can't wait!

Love to all,
C

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Guy Adkins - King of the Love Bubble.

"Thank you for writing and sharing all of this with me. It's the greatest side effect of these notes that I write. I get to hear so many thoughts and stories from friends and from friends I don't know. It means so much to me right now. I don't know. It feels powerful, I guess."

-Guy Adkins in reply to an email from me.

Julie and I used to see every show Guy did in college when we were in high school. We ADORED him like an Elvis. He would walk onto the stage and just win the whole thing. There was a tenderness to him that endeared everyone who met him, as far as I can tell.

I feel a little assuming or presumptuous or one of those types of words even writing about him since my contact with him was limited to a teen crush then adult respect via his writings. But this year I've had so many dreams about him and think about him and read his words over and over. He chose to be honest about his cancer and I've tried to be the same because of him. It's hard NOT to eulogize a person who inspires bravery and honesty. So there. I feel like he wouldn't mind. I hope not anyway.

His notes on cancer terrified me and filled me with joy at the same time. Our cancer journeys were/are very different but he found ways to say so many of things that cross your mind when you are going through it. No matter what the cancer. No matter what the stage.

I reached out to him via his blog/email to just let him know how inspiring he was to me when I was a teenager and now, as a 35 year old with cancer.

Today I think of his heartbroken partner and his family and friends trying to understand all this. Ugh. Just the worst. But that love will live and live and live.

Then I think of Jason and all I want to do is spring him from work, buy a bunch of canned goods and pasta and fire wood and just lean my bald head on his shoulder for 87 years and only take breaks to pee and cook noodles. Alas, life calls and you have to live it with as little fear as possible. You have to.

He put into words so much of what I feel about this experience. He passed away last night into the storm. Full of light and love and music. Taken far too soon but finally free from the pain. He's everywhere now, I would imagine. Too many people loved him for his destination to be one finite place.

Anyway....perspective. Love works. Thank you for being my friends and family. Hug and kiss each other today and tomorrow and every day for at least 87 years, please.

Guy had a love bubble too. We are the lucky ones.

"So I forgot my troubles and just got happy. Try it. I mean really try. I've said before that I don't want a fight and I still feel that here but I think we have to try. I still think this life we have is a gift and we have to try to be happy. I don't know if it's a right or a privilege, an accident or a figment of our imaginations. It's something everyone wants so much. It's everything, Happiness. And I really have it. At least it seems like I do. If I'm deluded, don't tell me."-Guy's last post.

Friday, May 07, 2010

TA DA!!!!


We did it!

I painted this pic. Don't be so jealous of my art skillz, you guys.

My sister and brother-in-law came to sit with us for the last treatment. That was a really special gift. It has been hard to be so far away from home during all this. They brought some home here and that was simply lovely.

So far I feel like total crap, but who cares! This is the last time!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Rubber Band Ball Update!!!

From before:



From today:


Man...it looks about the same but I've been adding bands daily!

In other news...last three bag treatment on Tuesday! I'm excited-ish. I'll be way more excited once it's over and I'm on the recovery end of it but I really am feeling the light.

I'm going to spray tan and grow my hair down to my B.

Happy weekend, kittens!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

And Where Is The Body?

I realized last night that I don't know my body right now and feel invaded and that THAT is the worst part. People ask that a lot..."what's the worst part?" I'd say watching my family and friends be scared is THE worst but the invasion of the crescent-snatchers is a close second. However, it felt fantastic to understand that all of a sudden. It happened while I was holding Anne's new baby, Eden, and just couldn't control my tears and heartaches. It got worse when Jason came into the room. I felt like an animal...like my instincts were just going along without me. I felt my insides shake and my nearly lashless eyes started doing that tear squirting thing (PS - don't take eyelashes for granted...they really help when crying). I went into the bathroom and that's when it hit me. I don't look like myself, I don't FEEL like myself, I'm not dressing like myself....hell I don't even SMELL like myself. I hate that part. Because of that I am abnormally raw and crazy all the time, I think. It works the other way too where I'll laugh so hard at something people start looking at me like I might need a blanket and some soup. I used to have SOME control over my emotions but nope...not right now. Oh well. There are worse things, for sure. It's like everything is too joyous or too sad and they create this mix of crazy that just flows out of me no matter what the context.

It almost just happened again during a free chair massage at work.

First off, let me say that I should be getting massages weekly. Holy TOLEDO OHIO did that help. I know I know...they give free ones at Thousand Waves Spa for cancer patients. I don't know why I haven't gone yet, I just haven't.

Anyway, when I plan to tell someone something I always end up doing this super fast awkward talking and nervous bad joke laughing thing when the time comes to actually say it. This is not a side effect of cancer or chemo. I have done this my whole life. So I had spent all day trying to remember and plan to tell this massage person that I have a wig on so they don't rub my head too much or feel weird or whatever. No big deal to tell someone, right? Well this is what I ended up saying.....and I quote......

"HI!! (said super loudly) Not that I'm uncomfortable or that YOU would be but this is a wig (point to head)....from chemo...I get chemo...for cancer...but I'm fine really so don't feel bad.....so this is a wig (point to head again). Just so you don't like get...well up in the hairline (do an up in the hairline pantomime) or something and like....POP it off because THAT..hahahhahaha THAT would be funny and embarrassing...hahahahahahah
her reply: "ok"

Good lord.

She starts the massage and I instantly feel like I'm going to start sobbing bawling again! It's gotta be my hormones mostly, right? I mean they are for sure being horribly toyed with. I'm not even down! I swear! I'm pretty normal feeling and happy but man this crying out of nowhere has to stop. It makes people sad and I'M not even sad! Just ready to be myself again physically I think.

Good news is I did NOT cry afterall. I worked through it and really really enjoyed the massage. I considered going back in with a fake moustache and hat on and saying "Exuse me madame...is zees ze place for ze free massage? Sign moi up!" but I had work to do and left my french disguise at home.

Humans are meant to have their poor sore muscles healed like that. We should all have free chair massages at least once a week. Maybe no more than that because they would lose their specialness, but let's make this happen. Put it in the new health care bill, Gobama!!!

Whoa. Topical humor. On a Wednesday. Now I've seen everything. Let's hope for tropical humor tomorrow.

Love,
Crescent

PS - the irony that crying on stage was almost impossible for me when I was acting is not lost on me. Maybe I should start acting again. I would be the cryingist actress to grace the stage.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Play like.....




I was trying to fall asleep last night in bed, before Jason came in and I smelled like fire pit so I pretended that we lived on a lake. The cars were waves, the people talking on the street were actually night swimming on floating docks out in the water and the screen door opening and closing was Jason cleaning up the yard for the night. He was actually cleaning up the yard but in my mind it was a different yard that went right up to the water. I've done that my whole life. My mom said that some of my first words were "play like....". "Play like you are Danny Zucko and I'm Sandy." "Play like I'm kicking really high." "Play like this truck bed is my apartment." I'm always in a movie or a video or a book or living a different life but with the same people and maybe Paul Rudd thrown in for good measure. I think everyone does, right? It softens the sharp edges of life, at least for me. BUT, last night, it made me really sad and scared! I started feeling like I was going to cry about it! I was flooded with the passage of time and how much has changed around me and what is in store whether we want it to be or not...just LIFE man. The GIANT HEAVY gravity and reality and change and circles and intensity in ten cities that is LIFE! It snuck up on me. Keep in mind I have been doing GREAT! I swear they forgot to give me chemo drugs this round. It has been NEARLY a breeze. But still...I felt heartsick for some reason and pretending to be in my lake house and having no need for a job and no struggles was making it worse. So I got up and brought my pillow to special bed in the living room and said "J, I might stay out here with you for a little bit while I fall asleep if that's okay." and he simply said "I'm glad.", and we both fell asleep to the hockey game (Go Hawks!!!!) and I wasn't sad or scared at all.

That did it. My Jason. My lake, my screen door, my special bed with lots of pillows, my purring old cat next to me. Not only do I have what I need, but I have what I really want and what I've always wanted. Edges softened by reality? That's a new one.

What a joy to keep learning and pushing through. Not just with cancer because, let's face it, I'm doing super awesomely fantastic at that, but the everything else that goes on with or without you. It can emotionally cripple you for life or it can slap you square in the face then buy you the best noodle dinner money can buy, if you let it. The journey keeps talking and talking and sometimes what it says makes my blood run cold, but I'm finding if you stick it out and face it all, little by little you are rewarded with some peace. I don't know how or why that makes sense to me, but it does and I'm glad.

Friday, April 16, 2010

hey!

I'm doing okay! I had a couple rough nights with nausea and then some other stuff that's gross, but I feel like I can at least make it through this crazy busy day at work. Then the weekend. Ahhhhhh

I wish I had cooler stuff to say but just am almost crazy giddy about the fact that I'm not as down and out as last round. That might change but I'll take the good while I can get it!

Love,
C

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

something newborn




That's what our best friend's little girl said when we came to meet her fresh born little sister...."Come and see something newborn!". Amen, sister, amen.

That baby was just what the doctor ordered. When Jason held her for the first time he got tears and said "this is the first really good thing to happen all year." We are just so fortunate that Anne and Matt share their family with us so readily. It really does mean the world to us.

Speaking of newborn, I'm working on some new meditation techniques and attitude adjustments. My meditations are designed to keep me from worry, because I tells ya that is the worst feeling. I hate worrying but I do it so often. Not just about the big C but about everyone and everything. So I'm working on breathing that away, when I can. Enjoying the moment, cliche' cliche, blah blah, but it's a true cliche' so there.

I am also working VERY hard on not going into my next treatment with dread in my heart and head. I think that just preps my bod for pain and sickness. Don't get me wrong.....I'm 99% sure I'm in for it with these last two treatments physically, but I'm going to try and win in the mental department this time. Focus on how far I've come, remember it won't last forever, embrace the time to rest when I have it....etc.

This is what is new with me and it feels pretty lovely as far as personal paths to peace go. Now I show pictures!!!! (said in my roid rage voice because it makes me laugh...but it's not for me to say how hilarious my funny voices are)


Here are some of my favorite people ever on Easter. Shout out to Megan the red head for gold star work in the friend department as well. She helps me feel normal and makes sure I laugh hysterically at least twice a week.




Here is Jason taking a nap in Elizabeth's new bed. She tucked him in and said "There ya go buddy!"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

oh sooooooooo much better.

That's pretty much it. My fog has lifted both emotionally and physically. This weather makes it good to be alive. Short work week. Fun weekend plans. Best friend's baby on the way as I type. Good stuff, world. Thank you for it all!

Monday, March 29, 2010

hahahahahah

I always enter my new docs info into my Outlook when I get their card and I was just doing that for my radiology dr. and realized that for all my doctors I put "Dr. so and so MC" instead of MD.

So apparantly all my doctors are also DJ's. Holla!!!!!!

I am Lobo!

watch the trailer. hahahahah I am THE GUTE!!!!!

shell shocked.

Man. That was not fun at ALL! It took me until about 11:00 today to even come close to feeling like myself and I'm still not there. I wasn't expecting such an intense time.

I could recap day by day but we don't need to take a day trip to Snooze County. It was just a really bad few days. I've had TWO bad days before but not 5 in a row. Low grade up and down fever from about Wednesday night until Saturday late. Had another one of those 4:00 am "is this what dying feels like?" moments on Friday. That is a terribly selfish thing to say because I am CERTAIN my fever and aches are no comparison to the pain and fear millions of people go through daily, but when you are on meds, scared, tired and sick it's hard not to think a little on the dark side. (Just had a lovely vision of Hixx singing On the Dark Side at karaoke years ago...that made me smile).

Jason was very nervous every time I would sit up in bed and groan and then take my temp. I've come to learn that he really fears and hates fevers. I know he was gearing up for an ER trip every time that stupid thermom was in my mouth. The thing is they say don't come in if fever is under 100 but the minute it hits 101 get your butt into the ER so it's these crazy Vegas style odds but not as fun and glittery and CERTAINLY no roller coasters or pools in wacky shapes. So that thermometer became my enemy and best friend all at once. I still can hear its stupid beeping in my head. It's like NAM!!!!!! hahaha it's not like Nam.

I would lay on the futon (special sick time bed) and email my dad from my phone with almost hourly updates. Not telling him or Jason how bad I was feeling would have saved them both some stress but it felt dangerous to lie or play it down.

So then on Saturday the fever started to go down a smidge and then the bone pain started in every inch of my body and I lost it. Matt and Anne and Elizabeth were on their way over to check on us and say hi and about 2 minutes before they got there I lost my mind and started bawling on Jason. Like a crazy person. All of a sudden HAD to have my wig on even though everyone has seen me without it. And I just cried and cried and RIGHT then the doorbell rang so I ran into the bathroom to try and get it together. I was trying to put on make up but couldn't because my eyes were just squirting water. And they truly looked crazy to me. I'm sure that was the meds but I wanted to get that down on blog paper because it was such an odd moment with myself, alone. My friend Megan had a nightmare once that she was crying so hard that her pupils broke and started leaking black down her face. Of course that didn't happen but it looked like it was about to. Plus I've gained so much face weight from the steroids and non-activity and blech...it was just not me for five terrifying seconds.

I put on my wig and some lipstick and just kind of gave up. Jason and Matt gave Anne and me some time to talk. And in usual Anne form she knew what to do and say. I spilt some beans, like the fact that I have two treatments left gives me zero comfort after this last treatment. I know it's great and almost done but in my head and heart I feel like "What???? I HAVE TWO TREATMENTS LEFT STILL?????". But that will ease and pass I think. Like I said, just a little shaken but not broken or anything.

It will all get done, and in my calmer moments I feel that peace and believe it.

Saturday....not so much.

Everyone did just what their sweet hearts always do....patted my back, held my hand, hugged me, cooked for me, reminded me to take my meds and rest and not push it....so once again I was very much "love bubbled". Thank God. I kept thinking of that woman I met in chemo with stage four bone cancer talking about how she takes a PACE bus to and from her treatments. Who pats her back? Who makes her chicken on the grill? Breaks my heart a million times to think the answer is no one. Hopefully I'm just being dramatic and it's not the answer for her.

SO there you go. DRAMA!!!!!!! But I had to get it all out. Good with the bad and so forth.

I've been thinking a lot of old movies that are terrible but that I love and I keep wanting to find a DVD version of Don't Tell Her It's Me (also released under the name Boyfriend School) starring the Gute and Buffy from Square Pegs. It's about a guy who gets cancer and has chemo and then gets all hot and tan and buff afterwards and pretends to be from New Zealand and learns to ride a motorcycle (roadercycle as Jason now calls them). It makes me feel better to think maybe I can do the same. Not the motorcycle part but that I can get better again like Steve Guttenburg. And I might be able to fake a New Zealand accent for a bit. Who knows. Just have to get there.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

blargh

Not such a good round. The treatment went fine and we love our nurse, Isabelle, more and more. She is so gentle and sweet but no holds barred too. Love her. I'm on a hug hello program with my fellowship oncologist and a hug good-bye program with Isabelle. You know how much that means to me. Because you know I watch and not EVERYONE gets hugs. I'm just saying is all......:)

I made friends with a woman named Linda who sat next to me. She was very ill but wanted to chat so we did. She had breast cancer years ago and then due to some kind of other illness (I think she said a blood disease) her cancer came back in her bones and liver. Stage 4. Heartbreaking but what a spirit and heart. She was saying that sometimes she gets so mad she has to throw things. I told her I threw a binder and a shoe during my cancer ride and she thought that was pretty funny.

So the day of was great, but I could tell the minute I got home that I wasn't doing so hot. Just exhausted to the point of not being able to move. And that has not cleared up yet. Dr. Shell said that as I get through this last half of treatments I will find that I don't bounce back as quickly so it's normal, but is hard. I hate being behind at work and I hate sleeping all day and night but never really feeling better.

BUT only two more of the really bad buggers left. Then just the one bag until January and that won't take my hair or energy. The only side effect of that drug is high blood pressure and bloody nose. I will take both over how I feel right now any day of the week.

So just checking in. Feeling okay emotionally, just craptacular physically.

I am still in awe, everyday, of my friends and family. The calls, the check ins, the cards, the gifts, the emails, the facebook posts....just nothing but love. It sure does help.

I think this is all taking a toll on Jason too, how could it not? He does such a great job of taking care of me but forgets about himself I think. He could probably use a good week in bed too, poor guy.

Ah well....such is the adventure.

Love and kittens,
Crescent

Friday, March 19, 2010

Protégé


My dear friend, Heather has decided to give ancient art of rubber ball banding a try! Go Heather!!!!!

Let's all support her efforts as her rubber band ball grows.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Springy.

This weather is the KNEES, man! I love it!

Although it gives me crazy baby fever and I just can't have that right now. I just looked at baby names for twenty minutes. Why would I do that to myself? All of a sudden I realized that is just not something I can daydream about right now because when I snap out of it my heart and insides feel like someone has tarred and feathered them without the feathers. I know it's good to be hopeful but I don't think I even have room for that right now. I am going to just try very hard not to cry about it and to just enjoy all the other babies I get to know.

Other than THAT I really am doing great today! I feel good and besides a crazy bad nose bleed that would've made George Romero faint this day has rocked so far.

And as usual, purging a little after my baby name binge has helped sort my brain out.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nightmare!

Speaking of dreams....last night I had a bunch of bad ones, like one where I got my chemo treatment but they forgot the Benadryl in my vein beforehand so I started having a seizure and my boss wanted me to work anyway.

But by far.....the worst dream of the night....I dreamed I got to work and my rubber band ball fell apart in my hands. Needless to say I nearly kissed it when I got to work and it was sturdy and glorius as ever. I even gave it a good couple bounces on the floor just to make sure.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Best. Present. Ever.

Remember Top Cops? Here's the blog entry about it if you don't, but honestly...how could you forget?

The Dream: Jim Carey and John Candy! It was called Cop Tops and I gotta tell you it was hilarious. In one scene they had broken into a suspect's house who also happened to be some kind of scientist that made poisons and stuff. Jim Carey was the goofier one and he grabbed what looked like a grape slushie from the fridge and started drinking it. They were tip-toeing through this tiny hall way when John Candy turned around and saw what Jim (I call him Jim now) was drinking and started yelling at him and hitting him quietly with his hat then goes "is it good?" and Jim goes "yeah you want some?" and Candy goes "yeah just pour a little in my mouth." hahahahahahah I mean you had to see it but it was so funny to me. It was great comic dream timing I have to say. What a team they made. Sigh.

Look what my friend Mickey did.



Am.az.ing.

This, litteraly, made my week. I was JUST telling Jason that I think what needs to come out of all this is me being on TV or something. This is getting me closer!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

IMPORTANT NEWS!



My rubber band ball is really getting big! I started it in October. My goal is for it to match my head size. I really am starting to think I can achieve this!

Dream big, my friends. If it is to be...it is up to me. Remember this.

Kittens,
Crescent

Friday, March 05, 2010

a powerful thought

I just had a moment, while writing to my Dad, of total and complete awareness for how much I love the hand I was dealt in life. Yes, this year kind of sucks, but I just got totally overwhelmed with the people....so many people that love me and MAN do I love them back.

Anyway, just wanted to say that to the universe.

"thank you for my life.....I forgot how BIG....." Joe in Joe vs. the Volcano

Monday, March 01, 2010

Round 3



Look we winter grilled last night. We are trying to force the spring issue in the Prah family.

Great weekend. Had tons of fun with my brother-in-law, Jeffrey. He goes by Jeff but I like calling him Jeffrey. Makes me feel like a big sister.

AND I got to spend my Saturday with one of my oldest and dearest friends, Julie. We have been best friends since about 1985. 1985!!!! That's nuts. She's an inspiration and a blast to be around. I wish she still lived up the street.

So yeah...tomorrow is treatment three. I would be lying like a rug if I said I wasn't totally nervous about it after the last time. But I think they have it figured out so I won't have the reaction again, and regardless they are giving me more sedatives in my drip so I have a feeling my nerves will be gone pretty quickly.

The funny thing is that I have started looking forward to my treatment days ONLY because Jason and I get a whole day together just the two of us. It's twisted but true. I like that we have our little traditions like stopping at Starbucks for coffees and bagels. That we listen to upbeat classic rock, usually, on the drive so things don't feel too heavy. That we pack my pink backpack with movies and our DVD player and granola bars the night before. I'm like my dad that way though, I enjoy a good hunker down. I used to be able to see the sheer joy in my dad's eyes when there was a tornado warning and we were all home. He'd get the TV all set up in the basement and we'd have iced tea or something....it just became cozy and fun somehow. Even though it was...you know...A TORNADO WARNING!

It's not a bad way to get through stuff though. Hunker down with people you love and watch some DVDs until the storm passes.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Universe is talking.


LOOK! My chips are fresh until my last chemo treatment date!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

in my genes

I purchased jeans that are paint splattered. On purpose. Online. Did that come back when I was napping? I'm keeping them. I'll wear them while I uh...paint? My secret truth is that I sort of hope that look IS back. I used to be very into paint splat. I had the coolest hat ever. I wish I had that right now. HELL if it isn't back in style I'm BRINGING IT back into style!

these are they. (BAM! enjoy that classy grammar, my friends!)



I think I'll put them on tonight and dance to this jam:

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby Birds and Opening Ceremonies.



So there it is. My totally bald head. I'm not posting the pic to shock or get sympathy. I'm posting it because when I was still with hair I looked online for every pic I could find of a woman in my situation. It made me feel strong about it and continues to give me the right attitude. So many women and men in the same boat all over the world. Nothing to feel lonely about. Nothing to feel ugly about. I could cry about it daily but why? It's my head. Nothing to be ashamed of. It has a few fuzzies on it which is why, when I took off my wig yesterday in front of Jason and almost started crying he swept in and started kissing my head and saying "You are my little baby bird!!! CRESCENT! LOOK how cute you are! You are my baby bird!" (it should be noted that Jason LOVES baby birds on AFV. Loves them.) over and over until I was laughing so hard I forgot that I was upset. That is the best kind of laughing. I just did again reading an email from Matty (hi Matt). Laughing is the KEY to survival and feels fantastic when you are hurting. That is so cliche' and would annoy me if someone else said it, but it's just true, so there.

My dad was telling me about this Wanda Sykes routine on the phone yesterday and I was laughing so hard that I felt like he might be able to be her stand in next time she tours. It felt so good to ha ha ha that truly and deeply.

The weekend was great but hard. Friday night at the last minute we decided to just dose me up with meds and walk to a nice dinner spot by us (Chalkboard....we've been before but it was better than ever....go there). We had a really really fun time. Jason was in rare form and just super fun conversation and we really did it up with food. He kept saying things like pate'and short ribs were good for me because of the iron. I didn't argue. AND I had tuna steak for the first time and loved it!

Anyway, we got home and it was almost like the universe just GAVE us that dinner time to enjoy because almost the second we walked in the pain started. In my knees and teeth and hands and skull and feet and hips and everywhere. Just waves of aches and seers and pain. I took more meds and J put on the Opening Ceremonies. I was passed out in about 5 minutes then woke up to a surreal feeling of twilight and pain everywhere and Joni Mitchell making me cry. It was nuts. I was sure something was really wrong with me. Well more wrong than chemo for breast cancer. hahahahahhahahah...ahem....*awkward cough*....ha?

Anyway, that Joni Mitchell song got into my dreams and head in a major way. I sort of woke up and kind of sleep facebooked about it. I thought my mom was singing it to me at one point then when I realized she wasn't I felt total despair. It was just awful. It was the meds (Vicodin is a hellofa drug) and the pain but it made me feel totally terrified. I'm telling all this because, as I told my sister Jacy, if I don't share the few really dark times then people may not trust me when I say I'm okay, which I mostly am. Plus Jacy said it was a good idea to get all this down. I agree.

Friday night got worse as I tried to sleep. The joint pain is unlike anything I've ever had. And I'm not a big headache person so I was sure my skull was exploding. And the night sweats. Those are fun. And when I was out I dreamt of earthquakes and saying good-bye to family and knowing the end of the world was minutes away....uplifting stuff like that. I kept waking Jason up by accident by either making that air sucking in sound with a surge of pain or by having a crazy night terror where I would holler myself awake. He just kept saying over and over "what can I do? Is there anything I can do?" and short of make the sun come up there really wasn't anything. But I'm glad he was there. I finally just got up at 5 and watched movies and took more meds and by sun up the pain started to ease a bit.

We went to breakfast at the next door diner and then made a jaunt to CVS for "fun beverages". Not booze. Sodas and juices and Gatorades. Jason and I are big lovers of special drinks like that. The nurses all say that you need to get a walk in every day even when you feel your worst and it really did help. The bright sunshine, the fresh air and Jason making me laugh did wonders. So Saturday I was exhausted but better. Jason would put in a movie and I would instantly feel myself drifting off so I think he watched a lot of movies while I slept. But again....just having him there was exactly what I needed.

Yesterday I was tired but much better. We made plans to get lunch at Gannon's as usual. For some reason I didn't cry all weekend until yesterday a.m. And it was for no reason. It just started as I was talking to Jason and then I got a nose bleed and then I just kept crying for a few minutes. I think it was an emotional release from the weird Friday night. Not to mention I'm sure my poor hormones are trying to figure this all out too.

Jason and I had a great Valentine's Day. Maybe the best ever because we have each other. We played Guitar Hero before bed and I wore my Stevie Ray Vaughn head scarf. He beat me but not by much. (at Guitar Hero...he's holding off on my regular beatings since I have cancer right now. I'm sure they'll start back up in May.)

My other favorite V day story with Jason was when we were in college. I call it our Gift of the Magi Valentine's day although I think that's the wrong story. Anyway, I surprised him with a giant dinner at The Hot Fish Shop (don't laugh...that place ruled) and then when we got back to my apartment he had surprised me with a giant cheese and sausage tray (even then he knew the way to my heart) and a classical piano tape (yes...tape). I ate the cheese and sausage even after the giant dinner because I didn't want his feelings to be hurt and we both totally crashed feet to feet on the sofa to the relaxing tunes of the classical piano and woke up the next day in the same position. Jason and Crescent have been romancin it up since the early 90s, yo.

Happy Valentine's Day to all and to all a good night and God bless us, everyone and plant a tree!

PS - this is the version of Both Sides Now I THOUGHT I was hearing in my old room on Green Avenue. My mom used to play this Judy Collins record and sing along. I was sure it was my mom and Judy at one point. Lost style time travel maybe? That would be a very cool super power to come out of all of this.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010



Quite a day at the hospital! Everything was going great and I was in high spirits when bam! Anaphylactic shock! I guess because they took me off one type of steroids and the drip was a little faster is why it happened. It was terrifying though. For me and for Jason. We had just put in a movie (Taking Woodstock....Jason loved it but I hardly remember it) when I was totally overcome with the need to barf. I didn't but called out to the nurses "I'm going to throw up I think!" and Jason jumped up and they ran over and then my chest closed up and I couldn't breath. THEN according to Jason and the nurses my face turned so red it was almost purple. They took me off the drip and got my oncologist in there asap. She had them flush me out with saline and then add some lorazapan to the mix (heaven) and more Benadryl (double heaven). I then came around and was okay but very doped up.

So they had to wait almost an hour to try the meds again so the day went from a 4.5 hour day to an 8.5 hour day. But we made it. Jason was so scared but so great. He has been in power nurse mode ever since. Taking my temp....asking me detailed questions about my stomach happenings....patting my knee and telling me he loves me a lot. Good stuff. I feel safe under his care, that's for sure.

I'm back at work today and feeling okay. My mouth is already acting up but that's part of the drill. Otherwise feeling pretty sharp all things considered.

I took this pic of the escalator to the cafeteria again but going UP this time to remind me how far I've come. Only four more treatments of the rough stuff. Then only six more of the easy stuff. Then radiation...no sweat. Then hormone blockers....will deal with those.



Here was our great view of the storm from my chemo chair yesterday.



This was taken before the allergic reaction from hell but still sums up my basic feelings on it all. So far....so okay. Nothing I can't tackle with the love and help of my family and friends.

Friday, February 05, 2010

What's the buzz!?



Done! It feels so great to be past the worry of the shave. It really went well and I feel great. Now just have to get through five more treatments and I'm out of the scariest part of the woods.

I'm wigging it up at work today.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

sorry...I'm back

I have more to say. I think what I woke up with today was more of that realization of the roller coaster that my sister mentioned that one time. It's just SO up and down. I can hardly keep up. Yesterday I was so happy and relaxed and loved my new hair style and felt so empowered and strong. I woke up feeling the same until I went to run some pomade through my awesome new "do" and looked down and got a GIANT handful of reminder that I have a ways to go with all of this. It wasn't that bad. I don't feel like I'm a big mess or anything, but as the day goes on it just keeps hitting me that this is going to happen in real time. Not some movie montage of me, bald and plowing through treatments and emotions and recovery in the time it takes for an Andrew Bird song to play. I want it to just be May but that's not the way science and time work, nor should it. I don't REALLY want that either. I know this is important stuff I'm going through and I need to be present and aware and learn all I can. I'm just exhausted from trying to work through it all. IT really hasn't been that bad of an experience but sometimes I'm so tired of having it in the front of my mind at all times that I want to roundhouse a wall or something. But then that voice that says "this could be SO much scarier!" pops into my head and I say "i know...I know...I KNOW!" but still....the feelings can be tiresome. Healthy yes. But tiresome.

And the pressure to be changed and new and doing something important with my future when all I really want to do is drink wine and sleep and maybe do some laughing in between. But I'll get there. I know I will.

me me me me me....that's the other part I hate lately. I feel so self centered, but I guess I get to be with all this.

Okay. Just had a few toxins to get out. I feel better...thanks blog.

My montage song.

That's right....it's come to this......

I'm posting a Wilco song to explain where my feeeeeeeelings are today. I can do what I want! (runs into room and slams door and turns rock and roll music up too loud!!!!)

Besides, today is the first day I've been able to listen to my iPod in months. It's been working but the songs that come up just seem too hard to hear. Today I'm trying to get over that and let the music be more healing and calming. It's mostly working. If a song starts making me sad I just skip it.

Maybe the sun will shine today
The clouds will blow away
Maybe I won’t feel so afraid
I will try to understand
Either way

My jam today.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Okay so not a total shave off yet.....BUT






I love it too. I feel totally free and great about myself. Monique was a great advisor and did such a nice job making me feel comfortable.

A bunch of my closest friends came over and we drank wine and laughed and cried and then went out for dinner.

I feel good about the decision not to totally shave yet. This gives me time to get used to the short cut and feels way less dramatic to picture it shaved now.

So all is well. Another little mini-hurdle tackled. Plus I love the snow.