Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I am not Superwoman.

I am not superwoman.

I'm a MUTANT- What's your superpower- a gift from Alyssa. 

I don't make cancer look good.

The pic I said I wouldn't share. Lovely. Cancer is sexy. 

I don't feel good on cancer.

I'm tired of cancer.

Cancering is our normal.

Shark bite. ooh ha ha. 
In May of 2012, after a lump in my arm came back as sarcoma- the docs took me seriously and facilitated the breast MRI for the lump I felt, which despite my high risk status- had been delayed and delayed and delayed. It was 3 tumors. Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Advocating for myself and kids is time consuming and exhausting, but worth it. The earlier we catch things, the better chance we have to treat them before they spread.

About a year later, the breast cancer spread to my lungs and bones. I started chemo October 2013 and have been on some sort of chemo/ immunotherapy since then. The amount of money pumped into these veins would have bought our little home here in paradise outright. The life expectancy after mets is 3-5 years. Through a group online- I found resources and women with mets who are surviving for decades. Hope.

2.5 years ago, the day after Christmas, we learned there was a tumor in my brain. The life expectancy after brain mets is 2-2.5 years. Radiation is not usually recommended for mutants like me. It causes new cancers. The thing is those cancers could take several years to develop. We have to treat the tumor there before it killed me. By the time I had the radiation- there were 2 more tumors- it was the best odds. Lucky 3 again?  The hope is to live to face the next round. It totally messes with your mind.

In May, It will be 5 years that I've been cancering and yes that too messes with my mind. I've had good responses to chemo. I have been lucky in a lot of respects. I've lost my hair, had it grow back, had aches, dealt with peripheral neuropathy and a whole ton of fatigue. I'd tell you some of the less glamorous potty stories, but well we don't really need to share every-thing. My symptoms have been mild compared to what many go through. I am in the DEAD ZONE.

The Dead Zone used to be the oldest age my family members were before cancer got them. That was BC - Before Cancer. Then the timetable swivels. Now it's prognosis and progression free survival numbers. Screw the numbers. I am not a number.

I feel like everyone around me has cancer. They are not numbers.

Its hard to see so many friends suffering. I want to help. I feel limited by cancer. I go by how I feel, knowing how quick it can change and although the numbers for survival- give a ballpark idea- they do not define me or my path. I do. I know where this path ends, I just don't know how, yet.. None of us gets out alive. Life by nature is terminal. We try to eek out every last good drop while we can.

I try to stay positive. It's not easy.

I take the punches with the good turns. My good days outnumber the bad. I keep hope because the alternative is not an option. I don't hope for a cure for cancer, I hope that someday we will prevent it altogether. Just as I once hoped to lead the charge for the cure- I see my children learning, thinking, passionate about figuring this cancer stuff out. Our lives depend on it.

I am not superwoman. I am just a woman with Li- Fraumeni Syndrome and
Stage 4 cancer trying to live each day.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Kitchen Commander

I am a bit of a control freak. I was taught if you want something done your way, you do it yourself or shut up and appreciate the way someone else does it. I've had to let go of this. It's been interesting.

I appreciate others and their ways, but when it's my house I want it my way. ack! As I recovered, we were so lucky to have help and support.

I have many strong mutant and non mutant women friends who are like me- you would never know many were struggling- they would never say, ask for help or complain. They just do. The challenges they face are not small either. These are women who can see your struggle through the veil of strength and independence, because they wear the same veil. They like me, when able will drop everything to help without question. They see needs and fill them. They instinctively know what needs to be done, as they have experienced these needs.

tomatoes ala Monica
As I had help in the house- especially with cooking- I let the person doing the cooking put stuff where it made sense to them. Heck my kids have had specific instruction on where things go and they still don't bother- I think they seriously are trying to mess with my mind.

Periodically someone- child or guest would ask where something was. I'd laugh and yell- I am not the Commander of My Kitchen!  I relinquished command several days before surgery. Kiera, my most helpful OCD kitchen organizing child- would frown - knowing how much time we spent trying to "organize" the kitchen pre-surgery to make sure everything was easy access. I also spent a fair amount of time cooking- for the fun of it- not knowing where I'd be after Surgery. Within a few days of being home- I tested out my kitchen legs and prepped dinner- nothing fancy- homemade pizzas. I was not commander of my kitchen. I decided it was best to save energy for when my acting kitchen commanders left.

It was difficult for me to watch my friends and family work around my house. Another friend sent funds with the express direction that it was to be used for house cleaning the month I got home. Let my helpers use their energies on other things. 2 days after getting home- the bathroom needed a wiping down- it's the boy's bathroom- yet also the only bathroom downstairs. Normally I would just bop upstairs to my bathroom- but my legs were still a bit wobbly. I got busted wiping down the counter by Phil. He was pretty mad. I explained it took less effort to wipe that down than climb the stairs or ask someone to do it. I was failing at letting people help. Phil and Monica made the call- the house was clean the next day. I was closely watched so I did not clean before they arrived. My theory is- I like them to do the scrubbing- I don't want them spending time moving clutter.

I think part of it is I feel like a failure at my job. When Phil and I got married, we agreed as long as we could hack it financially- I got to stay home with the kids unless I wanted to work. So the house status, child status is a direct reflection of my performance. So the crap accumulates- instead of yelling- I take care of it. It's not always the right choice, but along the lines of picking your battles. Phil and I have never been overly social. Our house is a constant flurry of activity, yet we are not party people. For me- I hesitate because in order to have people over- I want things to be clean and picked up. Even with close friends. So I stress when people stop by. Or I hesitate to invite people over.

North shore with Ed.
Over the years - I've had several close friends who've seen my mess. Seen me at my best and worst. Seen my children at their best and worst. Our friendships survived. They still stop in. They still come to help when I don't ask. They take command of my kitchen and I've gotten better at letting them- someday command would again be mine.

 There have been many who have seen a need or a want from afar and made our lives easier these past few months and it is truly appreciated. From the edible arrangements, house cleaning, zen accoutrements, gift cards to restaurants, amazon, and care packages of cookies and fruits, homemade ice/heat packs and teas, and the traditional Connolly Junk Food Baskets. I cant thank Monica enough, she helped zenify my room and lanai- Both are now spaces that relax and I feel completely comfortable in. Her husband Tom pops in an out of the house- repairing shower drains, patching holes in the walls, fixing the pergo gaps.Grandma Sandy cooked amazing meals and snacks and cakes, I got to sit and visit. Grandpa Ed transported the girls wherever they needed to be even at last minute notice and spoiled them rotten with beach days and mermaid caves and go kart races. Bella so misses her Eduardio. Grandma Roberta spent special time with each kid and saved the days when the flu hit.
fix it crew. 

Then things get back to new normal. Up at 3 am with the insomnia- I rearranged the pantry and the fridge and freezer. After disinfecting the kitchen so much- the cabinet knobs needed some love- they got a fresh coat of paint. Kiera and I ran to Costco, We finally got to Phil's office and helped hang the art on his walls.
it's fabulous!

It's birthday season and Kiera, usually pretty high maintenance- just wanted a tutu. My friend photographer friend Debbie is embarking on a new line of fine art images and we conspired to give Kiera a photo shoot for her birthday in said tutu. Again I can't be more grateful when someone makes my life easier. After the shoot, Debbie dropped Kiera off and came in for a well deserved drink. Drinks turned to dinner- my house was a mess. everyone lived. I've come a long way and once again am Commander of my Kitchen!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

TESTING the waters, aka Catapaulting back to Normal.

I sat in the recliner in our room and watched the sun peek over our palms. Paradise. Any given day - we could be anywhere. I try to appreciate our surroundings as much as possible- you know when life and cancering doesn't get in the way. I miss my morning sunrise trips just down the road. Minutes from our house, the beach- not a good swimming beach- mostly a fishing spot and homeless encampment, but close and still stunning. The door opens- Phil peeks in-Phillip-  is hit with the virus from hell. I can hear the roar of puking downstairs. Ugh- round 5 which Rounded out our Spring Break nicely. Due to his Type 1 diabetes- he, like Lily needs to be monitored closely. This means taking blood sugars and ketones after every vomit/explosive episode. Or every 2 hours whichever comes first. My plans for today are well, shot- world domination will have to wait for tomorrow.

Blood sugars do not like to play nice during illness. Phillip's run high, which lead to ketones in the blood which can lead to coma and death. We have to be careful. This is another reminder that I am not ready for him to go off island quite yet for college. Me, not him. Me. He manages his diabetes very very well. As much as it sucks- he feels better and we all fare better when his blood sugars are in control. I begin cleaning his room in between episodes. My back hates me, but at least I know it's an- I've been cleaning for a week straight ache- not an what cancer/chemo problem is lurking type of ache.

We get through the day. Kiera disinfects her room yet again, the lone survivor, she sits at the table, a bottle of hand sanitizer safely snuggled. In the afternoon, Phillip's girlfriend stops by with chicken noodle soup and watches Barbie movies with Lily.

The next morning I am up. It will be a day of disinfection- laundry on 3 hour sanitize loads. Kiera has an eye appointment. Bella wants to make pancakes.  Lily comes downstairs, one eye pink and swollen shut with crusties. GDMFCSSOB. Pink eye. stop touching it. go wash your hands. I give her a warm compress. she sits. I call the clinic- they actually have a same day appointment. I call and reschedule Kiera's eye appointment. Oh the irony.  Phillip is on the couch- I fumigate his room with lysol and collect all bedding. Wipe down the bathroom, again. By the time I get Lily into clinic, her eye looks fine. Of course. Continue compresses and allergy meds. Of course. Dr. Jen is tired. One less set of bedding to sanitize- although it is getting washed, again. Home again home again jiggity jig..

Ok- next morning. I am up early. Back is aching. Phil is half asleep and rubbing it for me. I move to the recliner so he can rest. I could make it to the beach by sunrise. Its been 2 months- I haven't driven. I've been lucky enough to have enough help to do the driving and then the stomach bug quarantined us. Next week I will be solo again- it's time.  I head downstairs- grab a box of girlscout cookies and tea- don't judge- breakfast of champions!  The beach is a 5 min drive. A good start, with an excellent reward. I sit with the windows down and listen to the waves crash. Music for my soul.  The clouds hover on the horizon, I have a little extra time til she peeks her shiny face my way. A good start to a new day.

I get home before Phil leaves for work- proud of my accomplishment. I drove. The rest of the day is planned around Kiera's eye appointment and although I let her drive, I feel some of my independence coming back- raging back- as we spend 3 hours at the mall and finally make it home. It was exhausting yet very normalish.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


I am absolutely grateful for each day- each good day and I know how hard bad days are. There are some bad days. I have very very close friends going through much harder times than me. It breaks my heart there is nothing I can do to make it any easier on them. Perspective.

Last week, on the tail of chemo- we celebrated Lily's 12th birthday. Spring is Birthday season around here and we bounce from one to another to another. It is beautiful and exhausting.

Before surgery- I did some shopping and had tentative- although mild plans for birthdays. The biggest gift for me- being present to celebrate my spring girls and yet another milestone for me.

Weeknights are crazy around here- so we had Lily's birthday "party" the Sunday before. It was a family party- 2 grandmas, Ed, Monica and Tom joining us. The cousins were going to join us- yet their house was hit with the flu.

Tuesday night, Lily's birthday day- Grandma Sandy made her dinner as requested- lettuce wraps and baked potato soup. It was fabulous. We all ate too much- so when Lily complained later of a tummy ache- well- of course.

I had just fallen asleep when Phillip gets me- Lily is sick. And so it started. She starts to cry- I can't miss EXHIBITION.

My heart breaks. She's worked so hard on her 6th grade project. Her first thought is she would let her team down. I assure her- it will be ok. one way or another. It will be ok. We will make it ok.

With adrenal Insufficiency- Lily needs extra meds when she gets sick or she could die. Not get worse, not feel bad- she will die. Her body just does not make enough cortisol to balance electrolytes, maintain blood pressure and many other important functions. Here's an old blog about it Adrenaline Rush

I give her zofran. She vomits it up within a half hour. We start the clock- we have to keep a stress dose(3 pills) of hydrocortisone down or we have to give her the shot. I suspect she has the virus that's going around, but still her system needs help. I start my cleaning/disinfecting routine. My legs are shakey- who knows if it's new chemo shakey, tired shakey, adrenaline shakey, or new brain shakey- I have muscle memory of this routine. My sick routine. Door knobs, common surfaces, everything gets wiped down. The first load of laundry is on sanitize. The piles are formed. Lily continues to vomit. Once all down the hallway.

When everyone brings meals and offers help at the same time- I say wait. This is why. Murphy's law. Phil checks on us. I say we are going to have to give her the shot. we have a "loud" adult discussion about it. According to guidelines- if we give the shot- we should go into the ER. Like I said before- I am not a doctor- but I play one in the Mallory house. I want to give her the shot so we don't HAVE to go into the ER and explain to them what is going on and wait 5 hours for fluids and for them to figure out adrenal insufficiency and how to give her the right amount. We give her the shot and call her doc at a more reasonable hour- we've got this.

We finally get to the point where it is time. She was so brave. I held her hands and Phil gave her the shot, he's always been the steadier hand than me and she did great. Within the hour she was resting better and I felt a huge weight lifted. Just in time for the other kids to wake up, Phil headed off to work and our day officially began. Then in domino fashion- this fun virus worked it's way through me, Bella, Phil and Phillip.

Sandy and Ed leave the day following- this is how it goes. Feast or famine. I call mom- she's a Lily whisperer- Lily needs the attention. She begins her own care and cleaning routine, one that I am very familiar with. I was always the sick child- flus, strep, mono- if it was going around- I got it.  My stomach didn't feel right. ugh. I head upstairs to try and rest and hydrate for the coming storm.

We are officially sick of being sick. Anyone with chronic illness should be exempt from this nonsense- although it gave me a healthy appreciation for how good I do feel day to day. I got sick the afternoon of Lily's Exhibition. It was every bit as miserable as it looked. She got cleaned up and made her presentation. I was calculating the hours of puking left and  Mid exhibit- Bella was hit. The troops returned home. I was sick to miss her exhibit and so sad. When Kiera did her Exhibition project, parents had a bit more of an active role- this time- it was very much student directed. Other than proofreading one letter and watching a run through of her skit- I had not been involved. I really wanted to see her hard work. I heard the play by play each week.

After a day of rest, I am better enough to watch the videos of her presentation on Gender Equality. A very tough topic and one near to our hearts. It's hard to believe this was a week ago. Not only do I have the surgery time warp- now we have this virus time warp- Losing weeks. Yet here we are- sick of sick. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

The Dance - Healing Update

I met with my oncologist yesterday.

I am not an oncologist. But I like to play one in the Mallory House.

We- Phil and I had been talking about chemo and what I wanted to do. We are just a month out from brain surgery. I "skipped" chemo the week of surgery. I wanted to feel stronger before starting, but know that with too much time in between- we are giving cancer a chance to grow. It's a careful dance.

Kadcyla is the "chemo" I am on. It is a targeted monoclonal immunotherapy drug. I call it chemo because it's easier. It is given by IV and takes only about a half an hour to infuse. The bloodwork and mixing of the chemo take another couple of hours each visit to the chemo bay. With Kadcyla- chemotherapy molecule is attached to a known marker that my cancer has. Like a lock and key- the meds only attach where the marker is. It is more specific- less icky side effects because less normal cells are being hit with meds the chemo sticks to the cancer cells and hopefully stops it.  "Traditional" chemotherapy is slash and burn. It damages good cells too- hence the really sick and hair loss issues.

Back to it. 
So I warned Phil that at the doctor appt- our oncologist(since Phil is at every appointment and every chemo possible- I try to say our- don't know many others who have such a great partner through this) would congratulate us on pathology, recommend a PET scan, and walk us over to chemo. I also told Phil that I wasn't quite ready for chemo.  That is what he heard and as my advocate will respond to any of Jen's crazy doctor's office antics with reminders of the "plan".  Side effect wise- grand scheme- compared to most chemo meds- Kadcyla had been "easy". It's working, I get tired and achey- but seriously- big picture- I'm in the over 40 club now- most have similar complaints. I also get a B12 shot- because well it's good and a shot called Xgeva- that is also a monoclonal antibody and uses the whole lock and key idea with a different marker. This one is an injection that helps keep my bones from breaking- not necessarily - "fighting" the cancer cells. This is the dance- keep the body strong. The cancer cells that set up shop in bones- ultimately spread- causing pain and breaks- this shot will hopefully delay that. Dance monkey dance.

In the hospital a month ago. 
One month healing progress.
The biggest problem is we are still "fighting" cancer on multiple fronts. The chemos do not really go into the brain. Which is why I had gamma knife radiation years ago and surgery a month ago. I am responding to Kadcyla very well and it is keeping the breast cancer cells who set up camp in my lungs, bones and other areas in check. We are dancing with the devil. I am dancing with the devil. As long as he/she/it understands it's my body- we coexist and I do what I can to remind him whose body it is. I keep my body as strong as possible- and here is the tough balance. Surgery of course is a hit to strength. If you tax your body with too many spots to heal, sometimes it gets overwhelmed.

Our oncologist- congratulates us on the pathology and recommends the PET scan and asks what I'd like to do about chemo. We can do it today while we are here- come back later this week or next week- but really he doesn't want to wait too long. Which is what I figured. And there are many
worse off than me - it's best to keep one step in front of the devil with this dance. I may not be at my strongest- but I have extra help this week and next week is my birthday and spring break- Ok I'll go. I'll go. I'll go. I think of all the women in the UK or with insurance that wont cover this med. I think of how those spots on the PET scan look when the disease progresses. I think that overall- it would be nice to have a break but it's gonna be nicer to be around as long as possible. So I say ok, let's do it. Phil looks concerned. Then our onc says he is going to retire in April. GDMFCSSOB.

So we have to get things in order. He asks Phil about his new job and my forever humble husband says it's going well- a lot to learn and different responsibilities. Beloved onc asks if it is a liaison position. I wait to see what the Buddha says. The Buddha says he is the commander and explains. That's my guy. No pomp there. A little bit of pride(mostly mine) and a whole lot of out of our control circumstance. Ooh now they are talking about me- Phil was hoping I'd get more of a break from chemo. Beloved onc says- we had a break, we don't want to wait too much longer- this is the advocate part. Beloved Buddha says he just hoped I'd be a bit stronger and more rested than I am- aka doing better since I came out of the gate so well- he didn't see the plateau coming. (I'm still not driving, I don't get out much and I tire super easy)Buddha say what? I am doing great. He knows this and tells me daily- and he sees me when the tired and aches hit. Still Better than expected. So it's that gut check and the waiting for the other shoe to drop fear. Can we count beloved onc leaving as the other shoe?

We decide to let the availability of chemo med decide my fate. I know it will be there- I'm on permanent chemo orders- regular delivery. Every 3 weeks. They probably still have the dose I missed from before surgery. I know Phil is worrying about how I'll feel, worrying about the coming week, worrying about work. I tell him he can head into work- I'll call a ride when I'm done- I know he won't leave. Sometimes I hate this dance. I settle into the uncomfy chair- residual catholic guilt flogging-perhaps- everyone in the room is worse off than me- I reset my frame of mind. I am doing good. We are keeping one step ahead. Comparatively I feel better than I should or have. Let's do this. He texts his mom and Ed. They will head in to pick me up. I tell him he can go- he won't go until I am in good hands.   Barb stops by with cookies. She was afraid I would forget. I think everyone has my number. I appreciate everyone looking out for me.

I will get tired, but that's not new.
Handoff complete. 

 I'm taking advantage of the help I have and my mom will be here as long as needed, definitely here for spring break and my birthday next week. That's what moms do. That's why I do this dance.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rest of the Day

Today is a tired day. Like tired tired. I could hear the kids getting ready for school, but was powerless to open my eyes. It's Thursday- which are Phil's long days at work. I vaguely remember booing when his alarm went off at 4 something.

I've been weaning off the steroids, but still need to meet with docs to see what they would like me to do- the appointments keep changing (they keep trying to schedule Thursday and well they are long enough for Phil. )And well we were so excited about the pathology at our last visit- we forgot to ask those relevant kinda things.

I've tried to scale back pain meds and well- am not ready for that. They are doing their job and by scaling back- the aches prevent me from sleeping and that's not good for healing. So one thing at a time. Some of the numbness around the scar and that side of my head is wearing off. It's not painful but definitely a weird feeling.

The good thing about older kids too is you can text one of them to bring you coffee and they do. And they put waaay too much sugar in it so it's a treat.

It is also picture day at school. Oh I remember the year mom had to be in to work early on picture day and dad tried to do my hair. It was a disaster. I ran down the street to my friend Melissa's, her mom Mary fixed me up- yet in the rain and run home and to school- I ended up at square one. Which is how I looked every day and how school pictures should be.

Bella pokes her head in with her hair brushed(this does not happen on a daily basis)it's also  pulled back and she is in a dress. a dress. Bella.  We need picture day more often. Phillip is yelling for them to come on and they are off to school. Kiera brings coffee. Can still barely keep eyes open. She chats with me for a bit and she too is off to school. I now will keep the couch warm for the remainder of the day.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

One Month Update

Still easing back into everything.

Oncology is not a precise science.

At times it feels like everyone and everything around me is cancer centric.

My house(and household) is clean, well fed,  and lively due to the generosity and love of friends and family.

I need people and visits are good for healing. But timing is important.

It's been a month since I had brain surgery.

Most common question: How are you feeling?
         Answer: pretty dang good considering I had brain surgery. Pretty dang good in general. To be honest- most weeks after chemo are tougher, although the fatigue as the brain heals is a pretty interesting, sudden, intense thing. There is a lot of PTSD with cancer. I do tend to overdo it- but I don't mess with brains and I am being extra cautious and trying not to mess up the good thing I have going on.

Second Most common question: DO you feel like someone was in your brain?
         Answer- Nope. Not a bit. Which is truly bizarre, again reassuring about what an amazing thing the brain is and how far neurosurgery has come.  The back left quarter of my noggin is still numbish. I can feel twinges and a stretching like feeling and some itchiness as everything heals. I definitely ache at night and am hesitant to touch or lay on the left side- so I alternate between bed and the recliner. Pretty small beans in the grand scheme. I am in no way minimalizing the intensity or significance of brain surgery. A good friend and multiple brain surgery officianado was kind enough to send me a list of all tenants that could be in one's brain that should immediately be evacuated( the list includes just about any and everything that is taking up valuable brain real estate.)

The kids are doing really well, Phillip's gotten acceptance letters from a couple local colleges and a scholarship, he works a fair amount each week and has been helping transport littles to school. I just ordered graduation announcements. So very excited for this milestone.

Kiera's busy as always and talking my ear off right now- and even got snippy with me this week so we hit that milestone of the healing journey. She keeps busy with school and dance- 10 hours of dance a week and 2 eschool courses in addition to her regular courseload in prep for IB classes next year.   New milestone-will be Kiera's graduation in 2019. Looking forward to her ballet performance in June- she is the Duck in Peter and the Wolf.

Lily is busy in 6th grade and working on her IB Exhibition project on Gender Equality. I figured she would end up doing one of our favorite community services, HUGS, Alex's Lemonade Stand, St. Baldrick's or Make A Wish. She's been working hard and learning a lot and I'm excited to see what she and her group have come up with to present and educate their schoolmates on a very important issue. She's also taken up Hip Hop and Jazz dance classes again.

And Bella Boo- she is a trip and was placed in Advanced band. She just started playing the clarinet at the end of the year and has been practicing a lot. When she's not doing that she is out skateboarding on Heely's. That's Bell.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Memory Hoarding

Today is Phil's first day back to work. The night before surgery, I just laid there listening to him breathe and wanting to fast forward to this point- unknowns and all. The past couple days have been quiet- the kids are back to school- Phil hellbent on completing a list of tasks. I could feel his hesitance to leave me. You know- who knows what I'll get into if left on my own. Then part of me felt awful that we had zoomed(hahahaha) through 3 weeks of his leave and although it was a decreased work load- not exactly down time. I made the mistake of calling it a brain tumorcation. NOT received well.

Within the first week home, I could see he was not used to the relative "quiet' of the day. I fought the urge to do what I normally do-which my energy levels are nice enough to cooperate with. Several projects were finished around the house in short order, then he and Monica tackled the garage. My mom navigated the after school transportation and each child got a special grandma date of their choosing. Also a few other fun outings just to keep everyone healing. It was exhausting watching my routine from the inside, outside and an excellent lesson in - not everything has to be done my way and everyone lives. There may be a much bigger therapy bill at the end of it...for me.

Just as I purged our closet over the past months, all kinds of memories hopped out of storage boxes from the garage. The dynamic duo sheltered me from too many- knowing my memory hoarding tendencies- if asked, Jen will keep. Bob's matchbox cars(which became my cousin Eric's then given to Lil Phillip.) came back in the house and were again loved by my nephew. And both Phillips.

Another find was Lily's walker from after her leg sarcoma surgery. We called her out to see it and she immediately said- can we take it to the hospital in case someone else might need it- it's too small for me. I love that kid- and was sad to explain how hard it is to repurpose medical equipment for many reasons but that is something she could definitely change.

Before surgery, the kids asked tons and tons of questions about Phil and my childhood. Especially Bella- I told them that the part of my brain affected wouldn't likely be memory- but you know in tv land and a 10 year old's mind brain=memory. They love stories(seriously if you have a good one- please send along in a message or card- we've spent quite a few dinners laughing over stories and I am alway amazed at how one moment is so monumental for one person and you just don't know or just the perspective they experience it.)

We settled into a routine and now we are going to settle into a new one. We have meals coming twice a week from our Raptor Ohana and a few resourceful friends and have enjoyed some gift cards to Panda Express and other nearby take outs. We still have reinforcements for a couple weeks to help with kids. I haven't been out of the house again, but have enjoyed several visitors and am catching up on messages and phone calls . I was going to get coffee with Kiera yesterday and opted for a nap instead(read as= fell asleep thinking about getting dressed). So energy levels are still a little low.

A friend made sure house cleaning is covered weekly for the next month. We've had some surprise and some planned meals delivered, which were super yummy and I've gotten quite a few really thoughtful and helpful gifts. Not to mention the overtime my team here is putting in. A friend of a friend was kind enough to come over and clean up the hair shaved around my scar- which is healing nicely. The numbness is wearing off a bit- so there's a bit of itching and achieness- but again nothing like I expected. While she was here, Bella got a trim and Lily has been begging for a side shave(really she wants a pixie cut- we will see- she totally is rocking the shave.- always has. )and we made new friends in the process- which is hands down my favoritest. I am really thankful for these ladies helping us out. It just made things so much easier. And Lily smiles are priceless.

Today is a rainy day, which I love. Its so rare here and I have no place I need to be but the present.

Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)