Monday, March 31, 2008

tractor driving advice

The farmer in this video shall remain anonymous, as I did not get him to sign a release form. I'm not even sure he knew I was filming him. But for the record he's one of my favorite people!

The voice you hear in the background is Victor, chattering away about all the tractors he was seeing.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

boy and girl on the farm

Macro and Micro: he scans the horizon while she picks flowers

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

toddler road trip begins

Marie and I learned some things from the trip there. It took us 2 extra hours in stops (frequent stops!), some of which were due to my poor planning and some of which were due to the fact that the kids never fell asleep.

We got to Como around 2:30 pm after leaving here at 8 am. On the way back, we left Como at 11 am and got home around 3 pm - i.e., about the same time as we had arrived there on Friday. Lesson: Leaving earlier doesn't necessarily get you there sooner. What gets you there sooner is sleeping children.

Friday, March 21, 2008

toddler road trip

Marie and Victor and E and I are leaving this morning on a road trip to my hometown, going back to the farm! For the weekend. Lotsa photos next week.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


A useful insight: On the 4 days/week that I work, if I'm to get 8 hours of sleep, I only have about 90 minutes free time -- if all goes well. One hour in the morning, 30 minutes at lunch. I'm not counting 30 minutes for each meal and 30 minutes at the end of the day for cleaning up my dinner mess and getting ready for bed - that's not free time. I'm currently using my morning hour to go online and my 30 minutes at lunch for taking a walk. When David takes care of E in the evening, I can add another 90 minutes or so.

This doesn't seem like very much time, to me, 90 minutes a day. What do you all have? Should I feel better about this?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Sunday walk

E now has more input to her wardrobe, chooses dresses more than pants, but will only wear white tights if the pink ones are dirty.
She can put these boots on herself. I was wearing my hiking boots for our walk to the coffee shop, so she wanted to wear her boots as well.

She was eager to try out the new mittens that Martha sent, though it was too warm for them.

Riding home in the luggage compartment is big fun, though it makes Mommy look like a bag lady walking down the street - pushing an empty stroller and talking to herself.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

one more step

Hi everybody. I'm okay, even if you haven't heard from me. I can now "relax" (?) for a little while, as I've figured out the two scenarios that I'll choose between when I know my genetic test result in about 3 weeks. And I'm getting a second opinion on all the pathology reports, just for peace of mind, not because I doubt what my doctors told me.

My stamina is coming back enough to make a difference now, since the last surgery 3 weeks ago. I can take walks and not have to sleep after. Still dealing with mental overwhelm, but that's not really a new problem for me!

I'm tired of talking about my body parts, want to talk about other things now. How about trying to put a Democrat in the White House???

Friday, March 07, 2008

bye, May

Our 10 year old cat Ellie May had to be put to sleep today. She had been looking pitiful for a few days and this morning I took her to the vet who was really worried about her. This evening she started having a lot of trouble breathing and they took an x-ray, found her heart was "unbelievably huge". It was congestive heart failure. My mom was visiting and she and E and I all sat in a little room and said goodbye to my friend. (David's still in the midwest, a late train having delayed their return by 2 days!)

I took these pictures this morning because I was worried it would be the last time E saw her buddy "May". I know you can't really see the cat, but I was hurrying to get her to the vet, didn't take time to pose anyone.

The other day E was holding tissues to EM's nose and putting her arm around her, saying "Blow nose, May. Hold still." I thought the cat was surprisingly tolerant - now I realize she was bone tired.

So E did get to see her again one more time, and she said "Bye, May" and petted her gently. It hasn't sunk in that she won't see her again, but I said it a few times trying to explain why I was crying and sad.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


My days (my hours) are still up and down, but after getting immersed in the discussion forums online about breast cancer over the last few days, I feel incredibly lucky. What's 3 surgeries and (possibly) some radiation compared to having it in your bones and saying goodbye to your children???? At the same time as reading all this makes me feel lucky, it also makes me feel more frightened about it coming back or them finding invasive cancer when they do the mastectomy. But we'll just cross the bridges as we reach them, I guess.

Yesterday I decided to have the genetic testing. They know about two genes that, when working normally, suppress the growth of tumors in the breast. A defect on one of those genes accounts for 85% of all hereditary breast cancers. But only 10% of breast cancers are hereditary. The gene can be passed by the father or the mother. They recommended genetic testing because I'm really young to get this cancer, even though we only know of two distant relatives who've had it. Nice to be called "really young" now and then! :)

I love E so much I think I'll explode.

She says many cute things that I can't figure out how to convey in writing. One of them is when she's looking for something she'll hold her hands out at shoulder height, palms up, and say "I've looked EV-wy-where!"

Last night I had been instructing her to share her toys with B, who's a bit younger than her and was coming to visit in a few minutes. She agreed to it by saying, "Mine not get 'em." I was puzzled and then she said, "Emma not take 'em away." What a sweetie!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

pathology report news

Summary: My cancer is still not invasive (so no chemo, hallelujah) but the ducts of my right breast are just packed full of it, right up into my armpit and up to (not into) the chest wall. Where there isn't cancer, there's pre- or pre-pre-cancerous cells. So the whole thing needs to come off. I haven't scheduled the mastectomy yet but will probably have a date by early next week. They want to look at the pathology report after the mastectomy and decide then if I'll need radiation - it might be a good idea for me, even though it's not the usual protocol with a mastectomy. So I won't have immediate reconstruction, which is fine with me. I wasn't ready to make a decision on what kind to have, anyway.

My husband is on a train trip across the country with his father, something they've both been looking forward to for about a year. I'm glad he's getting to do something fun and have a break for himself before this major surgery. He gets back on Friday.

I feel kind of matter-of-fact about this whole thing. I know having a mastectomy will take away most of my worries of not being able to detect a recurrence. I feel confident with my doctors and my whole "support system". I do dread the pain and invalidity (?- being an invalid), but oh well. Other people go through a lot worse. I've been told my case is unusual (not sure which aspects are most unusual though), so I like to think that what's happening to me is helping doctors learn more about breast cancer. I really dodged a bullet, catching this before it became invasive.


E and Mommy are both sick today. I have a streaming nose; she has a problem at the other end. This is really adding insult to injury! I was already struggling with low energy, mental and physical fatigue, and now this. Two friends helped me today. Marie took E to watch airplanes with her family while I grocery-shopped, and Aparna brought me a bag of fruit and some great cold medicine (the kind you dissolve in hot water and drink). And E slept for about 3 hours at naptime! yay. I napped too, part of the time, and read the newspaper. My kitchen is a wreck and there's a pile of stinky clothes and crib sheets in the hall. I haven't washed my hair since Wednesday. But before I got sick (which was late last night), I had friends over and enjoyed myself: on Wed. night Kelly helped rearrange things in the kitchen/office and cleaned on top of the fridge, among other things! On Thurs. night Lisa brought salad and helped E with her bath, and we ate one of the frozen meals my colleagues sent me last week. On Friday, Carol from church brought a soft afghan she knit as part of our "caring friends" committee and gave me great advice from a survivor's perspective. Susan took me and E for a walk and lunch in a nearby restaurant. Felecia babysat last night and gave E her dinner while I went to a church project meeting that I was looking forward to. I think I overdid the scheduling a bit, but I enjoyed all of it.

With all this friendly busyness, E started to get jealous with me. She didn't want me talking to other people anymore, in person or on the phone. She'd say "Mommy, stop it," and turn my face toward hers or put her fingers over my mouth. So today, with what energy I have, I've tried to give her less-divided attention. My mood isn't too bad, actually, but my body is wiped out. As I sit here with a tissue stuffed as high in my left nostril as I can get it, typing to Celtic music on the radio, I hear E talking to herself in her crib. I left the lamp on to let her read to herself for a while. I want to check her diaper again before I go to bed. She's pretty sore down there.

One of her games today was "going to work". Over and over, she'd usher me out of her room and shut the door behind me, saying "go to work". Before I could get 4 steps down the hall, she'd open the door again and say, "come in!". Then turn around and go to work again. She told me one of the times that I needed a blanket, and she gave me three.