Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Altered States...

Joshua goes to the gym every day- partly because it is good for him and partly because it is the best child care value around. Lately he comes back from the gym with reports about sightings of very flat chested women. Usually he mentions his findings when he sees me walk by in my "step into it so you don't have to pull it over your head" post surgery camisole- it is a medical product beauty with one inch of lace for sass and otherwise two pockets ready to accept up to a "D" cup worth of quilting batting at any moment. It basically looks like a full length jog bra and I never put batting in it. He sees me and says something like "I was walking on the treadmill and this woman walked by who was wearing something like that and she was totally flat. I mean totally."
I take this update exactly in the spirit in which he means it- it is just an update about what "normal" is out there. And I appreciate it. And I think it's sweet. And I like good data as much as the next person. It just didn't occur to me until yesterday how funny it actually is. I mean, this is probably happening in households around the country, probably with data collection by the husband going in the opposite direction. I bet not all the wives are as happy about this as I am!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Sisters-In-Law are Awesome Too...

Cassie worked really hard to make these for me, and it means a lot to me how much the Christensens and McPhies and Barneys and Andrus' and Sanfords are looking out for me. Everyone is giving something directly from their core and I can tell what they are doing- and it is working. Love looks great in the form of original artwork, photos, hats, prayers, and phone calls. Thank you so much!

Sunday, June 21, 2009


This is where I was preparing to return when I found out about my cancer. I am so grateful for all that I have seen and done already, as it makes this news a bit easier- I don't feel a rush to do anything major that have not done. I just want to play with friends and read more and figure out how to run my life after I beat this instead of letting it run me. And I know that I am so lucky- I don't live in home like the ones in the picture that I have seen so often (and a good one is pictured here- this house is in the country and not the slums)...and I am sure that women here get breast cancer too. Sometimes I feel like a spoiled kid- I get to fight this with family and friends and a top-tier university in my back yard. However, it was the right thing to go home instead of back to Africa. And the students who went without me did a better job than they would have if I had been there. That is one of the hardest lessons in all this- it is unsettling to know that my projects and my presence are not nearly as important as I thought they were. Hmm.

Posted by Picasa

Sisters are Good

Mary came to visit. It was a last minute thing and I had no idea how happy the surprise made me. I wonder what else I want that I don't even know I want until someone tells me it is going to happen?

While she was here, I opened the necklace present that Katherine sent. I wear it a lot- it says "keep calm and carry on." Very sage advice, indeed. I don't have prosthetics yet, and I was pretty ok with it that day (and thus far thereafter). This picture might portray that, and it also shows that I should do my new haircut before I leave the house.
Posted by Picasa

Last Day Before Surgery

I tried hard to think of what I wanted to do the last day before my double mastectomy. The nurse says that nothing can prepare you for losing body parts, but it seemed like I should go rowing in a bikini or something...Carole was willing to humor anything I could think of, even rowing or the bikini. I decided I wanted to plant flowers, and she did all of the hard work. Tanner and I came out to help. He ended up eating mouthfuls of dirt and I let him. In this picture you can see I already have my premptive strike haircut (very fancy) and I am clearly showing you as much cleavage as I can muster. I have already forgotton how I really felt that day, all I remember is that it was really, really hot and I was very calm. I am still very happy with the flowers.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 1, 2009

Ann Taylor and the Allman Brothers Blood Draw

Today was a wierd day at the doctor's. First, I drove myself with my drains and didn't love that. I got taken to a room by a georgous girl (this sunny and beautiful second office seems to dispense with the lab coats so it was unclear why a georgeous girl was leading me places) and I told her I liked her dress- and asked her where she got it (Ann Taylor- last year- but they have a similar one now). Turns out she is a highly skilled nurse and she came back later telling me that the doctor told her to come in and look at me. She looked like how I used to look before- she had breasts, a cute blonde bob, a classy dress, the David Yurman bracelets I love, the works. Me on a good day, or so I like to think. I was in a target sweatshirt with a crazy pattern (to draw the eye away from the fact that I look pregnant when all the drains are pinned to the uni-bra stuffed with gauze - making the drains look sort of like ornaments pinned to the advent calendar. Except grosser. By far. Anyway, once she declared herself as a nurse qualified to do something and once she started checking out my surgery site, I found myself apologizing - I actually said: "sorry, I used to be an Ann Taylor-wearing classy person who shaves her arms and takes showers and wears make-up." I then started in on my main question: drain removal. I have been TRAUMATIZED ever since a doctor told me quite cavalierly that the way they take them out is to pull. She didn't mention anesthesia at the time either. So I asked: and she told me some stupid line about how people who are worried don't really notice once you do it. Which flies in the face of what one guy told me about his drains- he said removal was the freakiest thing. I tell you, I can feel the drain tubes that are like 10 inches inside me and 10 inches away from the exit spot so doesn't that mean I will feel 10 inches of them leaving???? I told the doctor later that I have been a VERY good sport. Very. So could I please make a fuss right here and insist that drain removal be done under anesthesia. I told him I would pay. cash. This is not an insurance thing- don't brush me off with regulations. They have the goods and I have the money (or so I think since I am not looking). He said no way. Drain removal is now up there with childbirth and break-ups. What I mean is this: you only get to it when the pain of doing it is high but less than the pain of not doing it. And like break-ups (and unlike childbirth) you don't get drugs. Some days I just get tired of being "tough."
I am tired of typing but I didn't even get to the discussion about swimming, deoderant, or the Allman Brothers. Later.

I Love YouTube

I had to work today so I had my laptop out. Josh had to leave to get his blood tests for the fertility experiment I am spending all of our savings on. I was tired, but not useless, and Tanner was talking about horses- he is really into horses. I caught him trying to ride the 10 inch plush horse I bought him for easter, and that wasn't very successful. So, I opened youtube and put in "horses in action" and got some great slide shows of jumping horses and dressage and even some horses in a pool in Arizona. It was a genius move and he was mesmerized. We took some hits when he started messing with the keyboard, but it worked for way longer than I expected. It felt like some kind of working mom balance moment. We got distracted but he started asking for it again once Joshua was back, so I told Josh about it and set them both loose. Josh is a youtube newbie, and he told me after I came in to respond to some crying (tanner, not josh) that he had typed in "lions and tigers and zebras" and he accidentally showed Tanner a massive zebra massacre. We tried to keep him innocent longer than that...you should not stray from "horses in action." Don't forget.


One of the good things about all of this is it makes me a better mom. I know I always thought there would be more time later to do it all "right" and "better"- just after this next crisis/fire/deadline/class and for sure with the next child. But now, the thought that Tanner might be my only child is both a glorious gift and a punch in the gut. Thank goodness he is not even two. Someone tried to comfort me - and it worked- by telling me that now is when they start to remember me anyway. I was such a good mom today- I took him out to the yard, it was hot but ok in the shade. I meant to let him play in the sand, but we ended up trying a few swings and then running through the sprinklers. I was wearing good pants because I went to the doctor, and I was in a hot sweatshirt because it zips up the front. For a moment, just a moment, I didn't want to sweat and I didn't want to have to wash my pants so soon. But in a nice way- not a macabre or melodramatic way- a small reminder just flitted through my brain. It wasn't a lecture and it wasn't an admonition- it was just a flit that made me change my mind just in time. When Tanner came back from the swings to get me to come too (come swing mommy!) I said yes- and when we decided to get wet and stick our tongues out to catch the water- over and over again- I remembered that you can wash clothes. I hate it that I think about time running out sometimes, but its ok, because time is actually doing that to everyone. Just most of us don't have three pounds of gauze strapped around your chest and three drains pinned to the gauze when you think it. It was a good day.

Swinging in the Sun

People came over to help me with dinner and Tanner, and we went outside to the previously unused and apparently boring swing set. Between us, we showed Tanner how to swing on his stomach- he calls it "flying" and my favorite thing was when he asked "Mommy come fly with Tanner" (he almost always refers to himself in the third person now) and he let me sit next to him and fly my way (seated on my bum since I can't swing on my chest). The first few pictures of him look like he is on some sort of gallows, but I know how happy he was. He liked pushing off on his own and taking about three swings- then he liked solid ground under his feet. It was awesome.