Sunday, February 24, 2013

0% to 50% to 80% ...

I have moved into the next phase of healing ... the part that is three to six months out. The surgeon says it takes time. Thankfully she has given me Gabapentin to ease the physical discomfort.

Since my December diagnosis and my January 14th surgery, I have balanced not being at 100%. That has meant adjusting my work hours, declining social invitations, ceasing to volunteer, not returning messages immediately and watching my house move into shambles. Some things have fallen through the cracks. All have lead to my mental discomfort.

But of course, there are umpteen moments of celebration that seek to overshadow the discomforts. The obvious and the most important: no more cancer. And friends and family and community. The daily joys that come with living and learning are ever present.

I will get there. I am past 0% and past 50% and moving past 80% ... three months or maybe six months is the mark.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

To Ski or Not to Ski

Energetic Youngest Son headed to lodge for our hand packed lunch.
I skied today with Oldest Son and Youngest Son. I did not make this ski decision till this morning. There are those who think I am nuts. Well, I have found that being slightly nutty can be helpful when finding the new normal after a serious health episode.

Loveland was lovely (I could not resist.) Oldest Son, the skier, was encouraging on the slopes "Mommy, you are doing really well." And I did do quite well throughout the morning on the groomed green and blue runs. Then we listened to Youngest Son, the snowboarder. "Let's cross over ..." he said. Oldest Son and I agreed to his idea. Mistake. Both Youngest Son and I went down in the powder.

It was impossible for me to have the upper body agility needed to pull myself up. I did try though and now Oldest Son and Youngest Son know many more colorful words that they are not allowed to say! The solution was actually easy - I just had to take off my skis, get on my knees and up I went. Oldest Son stood by my side and helped while I  got skis back on and poles in hand.

After our peanut butter & jelly sandwich lunch, the boys skied the mountain on their own while I took a break. Commuter Husband and I were a tiny bit nervous about letting them loose but they did great. I then finished a couple runs with them to wrap up day one.

Just like before the skiing, my chest is sore and tight. I am more swollen with the dreaded fluid build up. We are spending a very restful afternoon and evening in this cozy Silver Plume cottage. I will make another ski decision in the morning.

The snow and mountains were so beautiful and I was quite happy to be riding the ski lifts and gliding over the snow with the boys. Going out into this amazing world and having new experiences are simply part of my core being.
Youngest Son asleep at lodge table while Commuter Husband & Oldest Son load up gear to head out for the day. Snowboarding wore this little guy out ... 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Love is ...

LOVE ...
Starting Our Day
On our flight to Denver this morning, I had a "Love is" moment. Oldest Son was by the window and I took the middle seat next him. It was early so he laid his head in my lap while we slept. When we awoke, Oldest Son immediately inserted his low-tech ear plugs to listen to the plane music and I opened my computer to get some work done.

Then came the moment. Oldest Son took one plug out of his ear and silently handed it to me. I slipped it in my ear and we smiled at each other. Oldest Son with the left plug in his right ear and Mommy with Commuter Husband (me) with the right plug in her left ear. Connected by these skinny white wires, we listened to the pop music together. We felt happy. This small unplanned gesture is Love.

Experiencing Our Day
While I took care of some business in Denver this morning, Commuter Husband and the boys did a guided tour of the Morrison Natural History Museum. Youngest Son had an especially engaging time at the hands-on, small venue. Although, he did bellyache about the kids who arrived to the tour late and were distracting. Warning: do not get between Youngest Son and his fossils!
Oldest Son drilling - see fossil in upper left of rock?
We then journeyed to our wonderful little cottage in Silver Plume where we relaxed by the fire with movies and books. Commuter Husband cooked up a batch of lentils and brown rice. The steaming bowls of - yes - Love. I feel a theme here!
Reading: Youngest Son - The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod & Oldest Son - The Iliad on his Kindle.
From kitchen looking into one of two bedrooms and at the antique buffet. 
Adorable sitting area beside the other bedroom.
We will ski Loveland tomorrow. Loveland is more of a locals destination where lift tickets and rental costs are significantly less than the surrounding resorts. And well it is LOVEland ... perhaps I have a Valentines Day mood carry over ...
I obviously planned this trip prior to the cancer diagnosis. My surgeon and RN approved going. I am finally getting some better range of motion (yeah!) but the soreness, tightness and fluid build-up is the same. That pain and discomfort are ever present no matter where I am - so why not here?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine Sweets

Valentine's Day 2013 - "fancy wrap" for the morning surprises ...
Being a Commuter Family creates even more awareness of tradition. We have a Valentine's Day Tradition: Trail of Kisses. Hershey Kisses, of course. In 2009 I was the "Commuter Wife"  between Dallas and La Cruz de Huanacaxtle and I made sure to smuggle those coveted bags of Hershey kisses into Mexico for the boys.

When Oldest Son and Youngest Son hop out of bed in the morning, they will immediately dash to find their Trail of Kisses. While hastily grabbing their foil covered chocolates, they will race to find gifts demonstrating the love and devotion of their parents. Commuter Husband is in charge of cards thus he purchased our Valentine greetings before he left for Houston this week. And why is this particular task allocated to Commuter Husband? Let's just say I would never buy Valentine cards that include themes of farts and roadkill that will send these pre-teen boys into glorious giggles.

This is more my style ...
Valentine's Day 2004 - look at those sweet babies - yes there - under the bears! We made this photo for Daddy.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Easing into a New Style

I do not like to shop. Commuter Husband certainly does not like to shop. But there we are in the middle of Gap this afternoon. The need for soft clothing to ease the nerve sensitivity across my chest and arms has become a priority.

Poor Commuter Husband - trying to hold the multitude of shirts, reach up to the racks where I cannot, help me pull shirts over my head and then make darn sure he says the right thing when I ask the loaded question "Does this look okay?"

And to hold his wife as she breaks down in tears beside the The Essential Crew t-shirts when it all becomes too much. The moment did not last long but it happens. This is an emotional journey.

The very good news is that I walked out with five t-shirts, two pullovers for layering and a couple button ups that will look great with my new collection of scarves. All for under $200 - woo hoo!

Thanks Gap! Fun spring colors.
Went to LAX parent meeting this afternoon in this new ensemble: Casual shirt with orange t-shirt peeking out and cotton scarf given to me from wonderful friend.
Love this scarf from friend and work colleague!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Forever Part of a New Community

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I was fortunate to have many friends and family members who connected me with breast cancer survivors. I talked, emailed and Facebook messaged with many. These remarkable women were ever so helpful. Truly.

And now I am forever a part of this community of women. This past weekend, a friend reached out to me when her mother was diagnosed. I talked with my friend and tried to be useful. As I so recently know, it can all be overwhelming when a woman starts down this life path.

I am still a bit overwhelmed. While the hard part is supposedly behind me, the healing process continues for an undetermined amount of time. The surgeon's nurse has prescribed Motrin every four hours and upper body exercises every two hours. Yes, it hurts. The left side is healing much better than the right. Sleeping is uncomfortable. These are the simple facts.

I am not sure if I will be at this stage for weeks or months. I can certainly do many things but I cannot be at 100% all day, every day. That is the real challenge for me. Slowing down. Declining invitations. Making choices. Dealing with limitations.

But I am always ever so grateful that I have these problems and not cancer, not radiation, not chemo.

I am one of the lucky ones. Truly.