Thursday, April 19, 2012

Round Two

This time last year my grandfather was basically killing himself with chemo. In all honesty, I can't for the life of me remember why. I just remember many of us desperately wanted him to try any and all available therapies. We didn't want the oncologist to write him off because he was in his mid-eighties. He was still out mowing and working on his house and doing geophysical consulting.

Then on May 28th he mowed the lawn and was basically himself a bit before going in for his first (and last) treatment of Jevtana. The next day he couldn't get out of bed. I remember my father carrying him like a baby to the car. He was a week in the hospital. They released him to hospice and three weeks later the last gasp of wind was sucked out of our lungs when he died on June 18.

So it was a different story altogether when I told my grandmother today that I'd rather she had an enjoyable year and die at the end of it than suffer as my grandfather had for five years and die of the same thing at the end of that. Some chemo is just--ironically--overkill. Of course, the oncologist is sneaking in low doses of a cytotoxic chemo in pill form and she'd said she didn't want to go there. TO HIM. So why did he prescribe it? The world wants to know. She's going to ask about that.

It's round two. Here we are at the top of the roller coaster again. And rather than prepare to make this the most awesome ride ever, we've boarded with our pillows and blankies and are fairly asleep.

We just want the ride to be over. We know where it ends.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You'll Never ______?

Sometimes life stinks. I'm sorry, but that's the truth. Anyone who doesn't admit that freely is someone perhaps you shouldn't be within a mile of until after they self-destruct.

Everyone has problems. Sometimes those problems can seem very "big." Sometimes they can seem very "small." Many have said that the problems in my life seem "big." They are big. To me. However, I'd wager everyone's problems are big to them at one time or another. Or maybe more often than that. And probably more often than they're willing to admit in polite company. And even in not-so-polite company.

Whatever the case, one of the best cures I've found is learning to do or working towards and achieving something that someone once told me I'd never be able to do.

For example, due to health reasons and missing or trashed parts, my orthopedic surgeon told me at 21 that I had a 30% chance of not walking again after the series of surgeries were completed to rebuild my knees. So I asked him about running (I was being thorough). After he was done laughing at me, he said "I'm sorry dear, but you are never going to run. Ever."

Guess what I do for exercise every morning at 7 a.m.?

And the first mile I ran? I told everyone and their dog about it. Literally. I told one dog about it. I'm pretty sure they thought I was a lunatic (except my family members who knew what I went through to get to that mile). In fact, I know several who knew I was a lunatic. People run, right? Not this people. This people got around on crutches and in a wheelchair for a while.

Then I limped around and got mad. That wasn't any way to live, right? I wasn't going to be a prisoner in my own body. Forget that business. So I found a doctor who would send me to a physical therapist who was also an athletic trainer in Houston. I did hydrotherapy. Lots and lots of hydrotherapy. Every. Stinking. Day. I swam. I walked. I biked. I did weight training. I started with step aerobics and walking.


Oddly enough the same methodology seems to work elsewhere as well. I look around and don't like where I am with _____. Someone has told me I'll never do _____. (Oddly enough it's sometimes me, but not always). And guess what? I don't have to be satisfied with that! So I get ticked and start chipping away at it. Until I do it! Ha!

You will never know if your life is going to be filled with a lot of blanks you can not fill until you try.

Some of Kate Earl's lyrics from "Learning to Fly" reminded me of this:

"When you lose your way
When you can't escape
You feel just like a prisoner
Of all the world says you will never be
That's when you can't give up
Gotta hold on tighter now than ever
The answers will find you when you believe
And I feel it's light
Now I found the spark
That was missin' in my life.

I earned these wings
I was not born with them
And it's no accident
How I walked through
The rain and the fire
Cause it taught me how to love
And it taught me how to fight
And finally I'm learning to fly."

Worth a listen. A happy song for people who know how hard it can be to be happy sometimes.

First Things

Even though he was fever-ridden, Squib was a busy little kidlet last weekend. Dare I hope he could be a writer? Who knows. He could be a fireman, a doctor, a farmer, or an accountant. Who cares. Nevertheless, I found this gem in my inbox last Sunday. I have edited out some of the random periods that iPod's autocorrect adds in (grr):

"One day there was a boy. He was happy. He love french fries and eggs. But when the sun was up the boys mommy gave him cookies hamburger strawberries watermelon bread. He tried it and he loved it."

Not bad for kindergarten, right? Yes, I am a proud mom. Yes, I am outright bragging over my youngest boy. Yes, I think he is awesome because, well, he is awesome. Cute. Funny. Intelligent. And he's a ham. Oh. My. Yes.

And what of the other boy?

Yes, yes, yes. He, too, is making leaps and bounds. He counts to ten now so we are working on counting to twenty. You wouldn't want to waste your efforts just frivolously counting, though, so you must play hopscotch or meter out goldfish crackers or divide up grapes evenly amongst everyone to justify the counting. Yes, yes. No frivol. He's reading! Mostly we know this via a computer reading program. Read the on-screen book. Answer questions. He can do it. "Yay-yay-yay!" As he would say.

However, about ten days ago I showed him a movie he had never seen and one of the production companies was called "Blue Sky." The logo came on the screen and clear as day he not only read it, but read it out loud. Reading and speech. Wowzer. Usually the extent of his language is "up, me, done, outside, music, cookie, etc." No more than a few words, really. Christmas of 2010 he was at his dad's but I talked to him on the phone and got, "Merry Christmas, I love you!" That was the first "I love you."

Saturday, however, could have been titled: Beanstalk is Mad. I forgot his Andrea Bocceli DVD. Come the official viewing time (9 a.m.) and no DVD I could hear the boiler being fired under the furnace to prepare for the mother of all meltdowns. It took an hour, but mid-morning on the playground he just plum flipped out. Head-banging, bonked his forehead with an arm brace, flailing, etc. And that was what he could get away with while I was holding him. He chilled out in my lap when I started singing, but threw in a perfunctory hiss now and then. That was new.

So I sat him in a chair of his own after a while. There was some sulking. And he thrust forth a lip upon which you could balance an orange. After a while, it dawned on me (I can be incredibly slow) he mad?

So I asked.

"Beanstalk, are you mad at momma?"

"Jeeesss." A wicked happy grin broke out over  his face.

"Then say it." I smiled, too.

"I mad chew!" He opened his mouth wide and his eyes sparkled with glee as he scrunched up his shoulders like the joy was going to squeeze out of him. "Yay-yay-yay!!!!"

Most probably wouldn't throw a party when their child said they were mad at them, but in our house both the first paragraph and the first expression of anger are equally awesome achievements.

Growing like weeds!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Public Notice!

Dear residents of Green Acres,

This letter serves to notify occupants of the above named property that the influx of socks and underwear from House "A," hereinafter referred to as "The Big Red House," to House "B," hereinafter referred to as "The Office," continues. We realize you believe those are our socks and underwear and as has been argued and discovered and resolved on many occasions prior--they are not.

Additionally, the maid of The Office, otherwise known as Scat, has lost all interest in reminding said occupants of The Big Red House that these are, in fact, your socks and underwear and are, in fact, not hers or anyone else's in The Office yet again. So...

The above being the case and the influx being noticeable, the socks and underwear in question will be accepted into The Office as guests and reside in their own receptacle as of April 4, 2012. After one month, they will be donated to charity--said charity of choice being the Senior Citizen's Center Resale Shop--and collected again until such time as an additional month has passed, etc., etc. time without end.

The first date of donation will be May 2, 2012. Any resident of The Big Red House that suddenly finds they are without proper dress may visit The Office and claim their clothing items for free as they usually arrive clean and we do not, in fact, wear them.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.
(I know you read this).

(I also know the SCC does take socks and underwear and respectfully address that issue with: Not my problem).