This is a poop-free zone!

Once upon a time I had a baby (my 2nd one) and 13 months and 5 days later I had another.

 A few days later, after many a sleepless night, still sore from pushing out that third baby, weighing in at 9lbs 6oz, I said to SG:

“SG darling, great love of my life, would you like to call and make a doctor’s appointment now or would you like me to give you a vasectomy with this butter knife after I finish making D1’s toast?”

Because he has a natural inclination to protect his manhood, he made that call and within weeks he was resting peacefully in the recliner with a bag a frozen peas placed gently on his nether regions. He’s a good boy!

Just to make things even more safe, when they found a low tumor 2 years ago and suggested a hysterectomy might be the only way to be able to access it, I jumped up and yelled:

“Yes, please!! Take it all! Rid me of my girlie parts!!”

So we had no more babies. No more midnight feedings, diapers to change and cries to answer. Before we knew it, everyone here was potty trained. There were no more accidents, no more errant turds.

We bought a dog who was 8 months old and house trained. A dog who likes to sleep in. Likes to spend a good bit of her day on her bed napping. Who doesn’t bite or chew shoes. Mostly one who doesn’t sneak down the hall to leave presents that will later squish between our toes.

And then somewhere along the line I lost my fucking mind.

So when my mom called and said:

“We’d really like to buy the girls a puppy.”

I didn’t say:

“No thanks, we’re good.”

Or:

“Have you lost your mind woman? No way in hell do I want a puppy!”

Instead, I said:

“That’s a great idea, they’d love that! I’ll start looking now.”

And now I’m exhausted from the tiny puppy whining at 5am. I’m tired of jumping at the smallest sign she might need to go outside. I’m wondering what the hell I was thinking. And because, as I mentioned, I’ve lost my fucking mind, I sent the youngest 2 for a week at my parents’ house. So I’m also currently the head of the puppy entertainment committee.

But mostly, I’m threatening people with butter knives.

It’s a damn good thing this baby is so cute.

Who me???

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Cold summer in the mountains

Well, the kids are out of school, the new baby has arrived and the sun hasn’t. Which means that the kids, with the exception of D2 who is at a cool camp this week, are all right here. All the time.

With friends.

On my computer.

Looking over my shoulder.

Expecting me to feed them.

That translates into very little blog time, or really any computer time for that matter. So if I’m scarce, I will return with the new fall shows.

Oh and if anyone wants to send gifts, preferably expensive ones, my birthday is Friday.

Just sayin’.

And on the 5th day I got my scan results……

…..and they were good.

Before the doc even said hi today, he looked at me and said “everything looks great”. I like that about him – he doesn’t make me wonder any longer than I have to.

Liver lesions stable, abdominal free fluid decreased, no new mets, blood work looked great. Everything we like to see!

Crazy busy week with the kiddos clear up to appointment time but it all turned out ok. The rest of the day was spent running around as well so I didn’t get a chance to update here. Sorry about that.

In other news, he prescribed a mild anti-depressant – for my feet! Interesting huh? My friend/neighbor told me it sounds like a great idea. She isn’t just an interesting person with an opinion. She’s an actual MD and she told me they sometimes prescribe this particular drug for nerve issues.

Weird huh? I didn’t know the reason my feet hurt so bad was because they’re sad but we’ll give it a try. Mellow-mama might actually enjoy summer vacation.

Singing the End of the Year Blues

As I run around getting things done this week, I have a new theory about the people who pull their kids out of school the last week to start vacations early.

I mean really, summer break officially starts tomorrow afternoon. You can’t wait a few days and let your kids enjoy the funnest week of the whole year?

My theory? You ask with great anticipation.

It’s not because they got a great deal on plane tickets or because it was the only available week for their time share in Aspen. It’s not even because the last week is spent doing everything BUT learning.

Nope! It’s because they’re smarter than me. They know that it’s volunteer hell this last week and they don’t want any part of it. They’re not idiots. They’ve given themselves the perfect excuse to say things like:

“I’m sorry, I can’t chaperone the walking field trip to DQ – we’ll be out of town.”

and,

“Gosh, I’d love get up at the butt crack of dawn to make bacon for the 5th grade breakfast but darn it all, I’m going to be in Aruba!”

and especially,

“Damn, bowling is my favorite sport ever and I’m crushed I can’t come along to help all those kids figure out their shoe size!”

It’s so they can laugh their butts off all the way to the airport when they hear the rest of us stupid people say things like:

“Picnic in the rain? I’d LOVE to! Sign me to bring the drinks!”

I used to wonder about those people and why they’d chose this week to withdraw their kids and take off.

Now I don’t.

Instead I’m wondering what kind of deals I can get on tickets outta here this time next year? I’m a slow learner but eventually I figure it out.

Now if you’ll excuse me,  I need get cookies out of the oven. I volunteered to bring 2 dozen to tonight’s post-promotion reception for my 8th grader. Like I said, REALLY slow learner!

A silver lining made of butter and sugar

So another scan is over. I’ll get the results Friday morning. I survived the no breakfast no coffee thing but it was touch and go there for a bit.

After 1 blown vein and another poked nerve (my veins are starting to revolt) I was released from captivity and sent on my merry way. If only they’d have had Scooby Doo band-aids.

I was starving when I left and as I pulled out of the parking lot, I realized this cancer thing definitely has it’s upside. Today it was in the form of flakey buttery pastry. Ok, there may been several but I deserved them damnit!

I can’t often eat very much without feeling crappy (no pun intended) so it’s translated into not having to worry too much about caloric intake. That is not something I’ve been able to NOT worry about much in my life. So yeah, at least I’m getting a little something positive hidden among the BS.

Today I’m giving myself the day to relax, read a book and eat too much. It was a quiet rainy morning. There were no Mr. Hardys in the waiting room. Nobody to chat with or try to avoid, so I sat and read and enjoyed the peace.

The school year is ending this week so my quiet time is about up and today, as I drank my contrast and waited,  I reflected on how lucky I am to still be here as D1 enters high school, D2 wraps up elementary school and D3 hits the big 1-0.

I’m scanned so frequently that nothing should get by us. I’ll have the drug changes and the surgeries as soon as needed. No change in my body goes unnoticed which already puts me ahead of the curve.

It’s been 15 months since my last surgery and 2 years since I developed resistance to Gleevec (the 1st line drug). That’s longer than the prognosis used to be for people with GIST. They are making great strides towards more options for people like me. Not just with GIST but with all types of cancer. Drugs that can help turn terminal diseases into chronic illnesses.

And for that I am thankful. Not just today but even on those bad days when I struggle the most, a part of me recognizes how lucky I am to be here to be pissed off or sad or just plain exhausted.

Nobody knows how long Nexavar will work for me but I appreciate the extra year it’s given me so far. I don’t know what Friday will bring but today it’s ok. Today I wear my heart on my sleeve. The one covering the band-aids.

ps – I’m also wearing the jewelry SG gave me on my 5yr cancerversary because i never scan without wearing something given to me by someone who loves me. When they’re searching your body for cancer, it’s best not to go in unprotected 🙂

When blog topics come in tiny spotted packages

Ladybug

I’ve been dealing with the whole scanxiety again thing lately – I scan Wednesday on case you missed that post – and have been struggling to come up with non-cancer related posts. You know how that goes, it’s more fun not to write about my impending death.

So yesterday we were out in the back yard and it was like the clouds parted, the sun came out and the blogging gods sang! As if to say, “We’re sorry we haven’t honored you with a topic lately. Let us make it up to you.” So they did. And it was gross.

A little back story – we have aphids on our cherry tree. D2 had been wanting to go to the nursery to buy ladybugs because they’re great little bug eaters. We saw containers of them 2 weeks ago when we went to buy plant starts for her garden.

Anyway, after D3’s soccer game we picked up a little container with not 10 or even 100 but 1500 ladybugs in it. Because you know, the more the merrier and it’s not like they’re roaches. She couldn’t wait to open it and put a few out even though it said evening was best when it’s cooler and they move slower.

But when you’re 10 and you have 1500 ladybugs in a cup, you don’t exactly stop to read directions as you run out to the yard yelling “this is soooo cool!!”.

But then…..dum dum dum….as she was putting a few on the apple and cherry trees, she jumped and yelled, “Mom, I think one flew in my ear. I hear buzzing”. Of course, being the quality mother I am, I said “It’s probably just in your hair by your ear. Give it time, it’ll go away.”

30 minutes later:

D2 – “Mom, I’m sure it’s still in there. I can hear crunching and popping and I think it’s trying to fly.”

Me – “I’m sure you’re imagining it but if it will make you feel better, take a shower and let the water run in your ear.”

SG – “Hey D2 do you want to go with me to take D1 to her oboe lesson and run a few errands?”

D2 – “No, I really need to get this bug out of my ear.”

Me – “Oh stop whining and go with him. You’re fine!”

2 hours later:

“We’re back”

D2 – “It’s still in there.”

D1 – “She hasn’t stopped talking about it.”

Me – “Really? Still with the bug in your ear thing? Fine, I’ll google it.” Because they don’t make a What to Expect book for whining bug obsessed children.

So I googled “how to shut up children who think things are crawling around inside their heads” because I think I mentioned I’m a quality mother.

The suggestion was to have your child put her head over the sink with the infested ear facing up, then pour a small amount of baby, mineral, vegetable or olive oil into the ear canal. This would kill the little bugger and then when you rinse with warm water it should come out. It mentioned you can repeat the steps if you’re only getting a few bugs pieces out at a time. Ewww!

Before I started I peeked in there with a laser pen, because why use a boring old flashlight when you have a laser. I thought I might have seen something spotted so I was beginning to doubt my earlier parenting method of “shut the hell up”.

I got out the olive oil and had her hold still while I drizzled it in. I grabbed the extra virgin because really, she’s only 10.  I want to keep her innocent as long as I can.

Anyway, I poured a little in then gently pulled her earlobe down to remove any air bubbles as instructed by the google gods. Then,  as we prepared to settle in and wait for it to do its magic, a tiny little ladybug floated up out of her ear canal and walked down her earlobe!!

I’ll be damned. There really was a bug in her ear. The ever helpful D3 took it out and put it on the apple tree but not before she added “I sure hope it didn’t poop in there!” Yeah, thanks for that.

Moral of the story – she was right and this is where I should probably admit I was wrong. Who knew?

We put the rest of them out late evening when it was cooler and they simply walked out of the cup onto the leaves.

D2 had toilet paper in her ears.

All parents rock!

I’m sure this is going to shock most of you when I say there is something annoying me that I need to get off my chest. I’m usually so reserved and keep my feelings to myself, right?

Remember how I told you we were going to my nephew’s graduation? Well we did and it was wonderful. The graduates looked great and the speeches were fantastic –  especially the one given by one the teachers. It was a perfect sendoff for 195 kids who were both excited and nervous about their futures.

We really enjoyed it – until they got to the part in the program called “parent awards”. They had all 5 Salutatorians give speeches where, for the most part, they told their fellow graduates how much they’d miss them, how thankful they were for their families, their teachers and everyone else who graded their papers, coached their teams and wiped their butts.

The “parent awards” followed that and as it turned out, they called the parents of the Salutatorians up one at a time and gave them a trophy. They didn’t acknowledge the other 190 sets of parents with graduates. This is where my rant begins so if you’re not up to it you might want to check out now.

Here’s my thing.

I am in no way trying to diminish the parenting of those 5 who were at the top of their class. BUT, what about everyone else? All the rest of the parents who struggled and fought and loved and supported their children all the way to commencement.

What about them?

What about the parents of the child with a learning disability who fought the system for years to get their child tested? The ones who spent twice as much time making sure their child comprehended the material enough to pass a test. The ones who lobbied on behalf of their children year after year to make sure their needs were being met.

What about the moms and dads of the kids who gave up the last year or so and fought all efforts to get them to finish? How about some credit for the parents who met with the principal and counselors day in and day out to make sure their son or daughter got the credits they needed to graduate.

Or the parents of the middle of the road kids who appreciated that sometimes, no matter how much effort, their children will be somewhere in the center of the bell curve. Despite all the help and encourgement, they will be C students. The parents who were proud of them anyway.

Where the hell are their trophies?

I can’t imagine that the parents who got the trophies loved or supported their kids more than the rest.

How do we know there wasn’t a Salutatorian or two who graduated with honors despite their parents? The kids who pushed themselves and got those grades despite deadbeat parents who were absent, just didn’t care or worse?

What if it was just easier for one or two of those top kids? I had classmates who graduated at the top but put in zero effort. I also knew kids who put in hours and hours and graduated by the skin of their teeth.

None of their parents deserved a trophy over the other!

Every parent has their own struggles – their own battles to wage to get their kids through those years of school. We can’t pick and choose who did the best job based on their child’s transcripts.

If any of my daughters get top honors, I won’t deserve a trophy! I’ve been known to put off checking homework for Bejeweled and Survivor.

If I get a trophy for one child and not another, does that mean I’ve failed one of them? Did I parent differently because they learn differently?

If one struggles with test taking in math but is a brilliant musician or artist does that make her, or me,  any less worthy? If school is easier for one child than another is that a result of my parenting style?

I don’t think so.

Maybe if my daughters struggle in school because I’ve lost my battle with cancer and deserted them,then that’s my fault. I know that. But in that case, no matter the grade point average, SG will deserve a huge trophy! Not because of their grades but because he got them through.

It got quiet during that portion of the ceremony and I can’t help but wonder how many of the other parents felt just a little bit “less than”. How many of them questioned themselves on a day that should have been one of their proudest.

How could they justify honoring so few when so many deserved a hearty congratulations on a job well done?

In a world where every child, no matter his or her level, is celebrated as a winner, what of the parents?