Archive for March, 2009

I’m too silly for my hat, too silly for my hat…

My sister works at BeauJos (shameless plug) and Monday nights are Kid Nights!  Kids eat free off the kids menu AND there is an awesome  balloon guy.  Really.  Awesome.  My children adore him.  And thus.

The silly hat.  That was necessary to wear while brushing our teeth.

(Shameless plug continued, it’s the BeauJos at Yale and Colorado in Denver.)


Jesus is calling.

So I just got a new smartphone that uploads all my contacts in Outlook from my laptop.

Imagine my surprise as I’m scrolling through, looking for a number, and come across.

King, Christ

The Episcopal church that we attend is called Christ the King.  Heh.  So yeah.  I’ve got Jesus on speed dial.  Grins.

Another funny related to that is a couple of years ago, someone called me from the church.  A friend of mine looked at the caller ID and said, “Um.  Jesus is calling.  Probably should answer that.”

Let it snow, let it…

Ok.  I know we needed the snow.  But seriously.  All at once?  It was almost 80 degrees on my birthday and here we are a week later…

Here's some snow.

Here's some snow.


More snow.

More snow.

Kid in snow.

Kid in snow.

Other kid in snow.

Other kid in snow.

Cold yet?
Getting ready to cook the cheese tortellinis to add to the soup.

Getting ready to cook the cheese tortellinis to add to the soup.

Make some yummy Italian Soup, courtesy of Sarah over at Sprucehill.  Can’t get enough of that one.  I subbed Chicken/Apple sausage for the Italian Sausage and increased the amount of veggies.  Still good.  Hey Sarah, if you’re reading.  Need some more recipes.  🙂  I’m getting ready to try the shrimp bisque next.  Yum.

You say it’s your birthday

I always loved that Beatles song.

I had a great birthday.  The big 35.  This may be weird, but I’ve never worried about getting older.  Especially now.  I feel like every birthday itself  is a giant gift.

I spent Saturday evening with my family, my sister and her family, and my brother and his girl (who we adore 🙂 ) and some of my sister’s friends at Buca di Beppos.  That’s a lot of little ones but they did wonderfully.  I love sharing my birthday with my sister.  It makes us unique (although it does confuse people who know us both since her birthday is first and I’m older.)  The waiter had everyone sing to us and we shared our cake with everybody at the table.  They brought us 2 pieces each of a red velvet cake which magically fed all 13 of us.  They all pitched in and got us a Wii Fit.  I almost cried.  I really wanted one.

Sunday was my actual birthday and it was a lovely day.  Almost 80 degrees outside.  In March!  We went for a walk and Big J and the kids made me my favorite cake (Mom’s Cordella Chocolate) with sprinkles added.  L says that all cakes need sprinkles.  The best present though was just the simple being with my husband and my kids, as they sang me Happy Birthday (candles are forever ruined for me since we saw a show on the Food Network that showed how much bacteria is spread by blowing them out). 

Hooray 35!

I not ok.

One time, when we were walking the girl to school, the boy took a digger on the asphalt.  Not fun for any age really.  I picked up him up and soothed him saying, “You’re OK.  You’re OK.”  He looked at me with a teary eye and stated, very emphatically I might add, “I NOT OK.”  And really he was right.

So today I had to go get an ultrasound of my leg to check for a blood clot.  Thankfully, it was a clean scan, but it got me to thinking (and a minor meltdown),  Why is it so important to be OK all the time?  When people ask how I am, I mostly answer, “I’m fine.”  because I don’t want to ruin their day.

But the truth is, I’m not fine.  I’m tired.  And I’m angry.  I’m angry that I’m still dealing with cancer crap and probably will for the foreseeable future.  I’m scared.  It is so exhausting being scared all the time.  I pretty much have the fortitude to deal with one stressful cancer related thing at a time.  So when this possible blood clot showed up and I’m still trying to deal with the lymphedema thing – I melted.  I cried.  Went to the hospital, got the results.  And cried some more.  Not happy relieved tears either.  Angry, self pitying ones.

I hate that cancer has turned me into Crisis Mom.  I’m unreliable.  I hate that.  Thank God I’m somewhat flexible, or I would have melted months ago.

So I guess, in the words of J, “I not OK.”

And I’m not sure when I will be.  But I think THAT might be OK.

The L word

Lymphedema.  Bleah.  Next to chemo it’s sort of the other great unknown in the cancer world.  I know BC (Before Cancer), I had never even heard of it.  I take that back.  I had heard of it by watching those shows about the really big people on the Learning Channel and it was primarily in their legs.  It was definitely not something I associated with cancer.

I had my evaluation last Monday, and I was right.  My left arm was 2 cm larger than my right, and my left hand is swollen.  It hasn’t spread to the fingers yet.  I’m currently in a temporary compression sleeve until I can get the permanent one.  And the gauntlet.  Yep.  Gauntlet.  Awesome.  The lymphedema therapist recommends I wear it 5 out of 7 days.  For the long haul.  I’m not sure how I feel about that.  Annoyed mostly.  I also have been doing Lebed exercises to open the lymphatic channels.

Some of my girls over at Mothers with Cancerhave been dealing with this for a while and have been very supportive.  (Still waiting for that lymphedema post, WhyMommy.  *grins)

Hey look what we found in the dryer!

Long, long ago, before the boy was born, I was packaging meat.  I’d just purchased the giant thing of ground beef from Costco and didn’t want to accidently pack my wedding ring into it, so I put it in my pocket.  And promptly forgot about it.  Until I found the engagement ring portion in the dryer.  We searched high and low for the other half.  Even pulled the dryer away from the wall and checked the vents.

Flash forward to 2009.  The dryer started to sound like it had rocks in it and, as it turns out, a new friend of mine used to be an appliance repair man.  After he’d taken it apart, he jokingly asked if he could keep all the loose change, and I, also jokingly, said sure, but if he came across a ring that I’d like that back.

He said, “Oh.  Like this one?”

None the worse for wear!

I may have squealed.  I’m not sure.  I’m not of a squealing nature.  But there may have been squealing.

So then I asked.

“Is there a camera in there too?”

Sometimes I’m smart.

In my house, we use a lot of honey.  In Colorado, this is a problem because it often crystallizes when it gets too cold.  In the old days, I would have stuck the little honey bear in the microwave, melted the crystals and enjoyed my tea without a second thought.  Now I second think everything.  And I don’t microwave plastic anymore.  This made  sad.  For my honey still crystallized. 

Discouraged, I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond looking for ye olde honey pot with wooden honey stick.  What I found was much neater.

Ye Olde Restaurant Syrup Pitcher!

Ye Olde Restaurant Syrup Pitcher!


(and yes.  I still can’t find the camera.  Ask me how much this is killing me.  Ok, don’t.  It’s killing me.)

A much neater option.  Works perfectly.  When the honey hardens, I just unscrew the cap, stick it in the microwave for a few seconds and voila!  My tea is happy with its honey.

Sometimes I am smart.

Everybody’s got something to hide, except me and my monkey.

I wish I had a clever way to tie that in, but I don’t.  I just like that song.

I realized this morning that I haven’t really posted an update (which would be nice for all the people who read my blog to see how I am.)

I’m ok.  I have hair.  It is red.  I’d post a picture but I can’t find the camera.  (I will be really sad if I lost it.)  I ache a lot.  Who knows why.  Could be tons of reasons.  I ached before I knew I had cancer.  I had an ultrasound of my thyroid done because it was enlarged and bugging me.  Haven’t heard anything yet so I’m going with the “No news is good news” cliche.  I’ve been on Tamoxifen for a while.  Weirdly enough I’ve started having hot flashes again.  Again.  Don’t know why.  Lucky me.  

I have a lymphedema evaluation on Monday.  I think we caught it pretty early.  So that’s good.  Who knows.  I’ll know more on Monday.  I’m at pretty high risk for it.  I’m a big girl.  I had the axillary node dissection.  I had radiation where the nodes used to be.  I have a 3 year old that still wants to be picked up.  All those things factor in to risk.  Lucky me.

Cancer things aside, I’ve been a busy girl.  Play-dates for the kids, accompanying gigs (which actually led to another one in April.  Woo!), trying to do some volunteering.  Basically trying get my life organized.  I’m not an organized person by nature.  Which is weird.  I totally thought I was.  But I’m not.  As it turns out, my mother is a totally organized person and I sponged/modeled myself after her when I was a kid.  Left to my own devices, I’m pretty fly by the seat of my pants.  So I’m trying to channel my mother.  I would try to channel my mother in law because she keeps an immaculate house, but I think I need to start with baby steps.  I did take 3 bags of clothes to the G0odwill.  It’s a start.

In my pursuit of being greener, I quit buying paper napkins.  I replaced them with cloth napkins from the dollar spot at Target and bandannas from Hobby Lobby.  Once I had enough to have a rotation with the laundry, I find I don’t miss them much.  I still use paper towels, but I’m working on that as well.  🙂

But mostly, PirateCancerMommy is in the closet on a poorly organized shelf; taken down only when I have to see the oncologist or late at night when I can’t sleep.  Instead I have been doing the things I couldn’t do last year.

Lucky me.  🙂


PS.  My heart and prayers go out to Lisa’s family and friends this week.  She was a wickedly funny lady and I miss her already.

Where’s the “send” button?

I accompanied the Missoula Children’s Theatre last week and one little boy forgot his lunch.  The director showed him where the phone was and explained to “dial 9” etc…

About 5 minutes later, a bewildered child came back to the stage.  The director asked him if his mom was bringing his food.  The boy shook his head and when questioned, replied.  “I couldn’t find the “send” button.”