Monday, June 28, 2010

Battle of the Sexes!

It's Monday evening and the kiddos are fast asleep after a long weekend of gender separated non-stop fun. Here on Verde Lane, my girlfriend Nancy and her two daughters flew in from Denver and treated Jenny-Jane and me like queens. My little lady loved every second of Nancy's girls doting over her every silly move (that's Keenan, Jenny-Jane and Tatum eating cupcakes), and I adored having my dear friend by my side. Yes, there were moments of tears, fears and confessions, but double-over laughing was how we spent most of our time together. This was especially true when Rebecca joined us for our hilarious sleep-over Saturday night. We all have WAY too much information on each other, and we all remember different parts to every story. Aren't college friends the best, but also the most dangerous? Don't tell Nick they kept me up to almost midnight, but I was tucked in with kisses and tears of love until I literally had to throw them out of my bedroom so I could finally rest. Thank you girls for making me feel so normal, as I sat with you and laughed and cried, and forgot for so many hours that I am bald and skinny and fighting cancer.

Nick and Fisher had their first true father-son weekend up in the cool mountains of Arizona with a gaggle of boys (and one girl- go Shea!) and their dads. I heard from Nick Friday evening as he used his friend's cell phone from up on a precipice that he and Fisher would probably be coming home Saturday evening. Well, when it was 10pm on Saturday, I had to muster all my courage to believe they were having too much fun to leave, and not in some remote emergency room somewhere in northern AZ. They arrived safely home Sunday afternoon dirtier than all get-out with story after story of all the fun they had. While Fisher was the youngest one there, he definitely showed the other little guys who the fishing ace was. He and Nick went out fishing Friday afternoon before the other kids arrived and Fisher proudly brought back the first fish of the trip. All the bigger boys were excited to fish too, so they marched off to the lake, and guess who got the first fish again? Oh yeah, my boy. And I guess he let them know it too. Modesty is something we need to work on. Super cute. They slept in tents, ate fresh trout, pooped in a bucket... it was a boy-filled weekend of fun. Oh, that's Fisher on the far right of the photo- lil' dude!

Today I was back in the oncologist's office for the week-post chemo blood tests. My white cells are on the rise, and my reds while a tad low, should be shooting up too. We ate steak and spinach for dinner, I think that boosted them right there. My doctor gave me the green light for my next four chemotherapy infusions of a drug called Taxol. Again, I'll be going every other week starting on July 6th. I talked to him about my long-term treatment and the plan after Taxol remains six weeks of daily radiation, then five years of hormone therapy (pills only) and then I'm home free! The scariest part of this whole journey is the possibility of the cancer returning. My doc assured me that at some point during my treatment, I will receive a wonderful gift, the gift of peace. Peace from the constant fear of having to fight a new cancer, and putting myself and my family through this crazy ordeal again. I am desperately and anxiously awaiting this gift like a kid years for Christmas. My fellow breast cancer sisters also assure me this gift is coming, and it's as good as it sounds and worth the wait. I'll let you know when it arrives, the minute it arrives.

I've been kindly reminded that I need to keep the posts coming, and I apologize for the four-day delay. I will be writing again soon as this is my "good week" and I'm getting stronger and stronger. It's time for a delicious Carnation Instant Breakfast and then time for bed. With love and wishes for a good week of your own-

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Smores & Chocolate Cream Pie!

Hi everyone!
It's Thursday afternoon and I'm writing from our very quiet home as both kids are napping on this super-hot AZ summer afternoon. I just woke up from a two hour snooze myself and I think I'm finally coming out of my chemo fog. This treatment I had on Monday really was a doozey compared to the one I had two weeks ago. While my symptoms are so mild compared to what they could be, total fatigue is such a drag. I just never know from day to day or from treatment to treatment how I'm going to feel. This lack of control does not fit my type A personality very well!

I promise to take it easy this weekend, but we do have some great things in store. First, Nick and Fisher are taking their first father-son camping trip in cool northern AZ. They are going to have a blast. Going with them are some of Nick's best friends and their kids. I'm picturing lots of fishing, boating, campfires and smores. Oh, and maybe a few beers for the dads- call me crazy.

Back on the home front I get my very own special all girls weekend! My adoring girlfriend and bridesmaid Nancy and her girls, ages 9 and; 11, are coming down from Denver to stay with Jenny-Jane and me. Jenny-Jane is going to be in hog heaven with those two lil' mamas chasing her around, and I doubt Nancy and I will cease talking until I call uncle and pass out for naps. What a treat! Another one of those special bright spots of light and color that make this difficult journey surprisingly joyful.

My sister Diane is bringing dinner tonight, homemade chicken pot pie and chocolate cream pie. Are you kidding me? Don't tell my acupuncturist who today reviewed my meal log and immediately handed me a list of the "Top 55 Fiber Filled Foods". I just thought calories were my main goal here, she has different ideas. Damn.

Please enjoy your weekend and I'll be updating with any and all news in our world.
With love,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boobless No More!

Hi Everyone!
Just a quick post to say hello and that I made it through my Chemo #4, YAY!! I think my support team (Nick, Diane and Rebecca) was too pooped to write last night, so I wanted to let you know I am just fine. Yesterday was definitely not fun, I was feeling pretty sickie by early evening, but I was able to nap in the afternoon and sleep most of the night which was pretty amazing. Today I am suffering the post chemo hangover, which is sucky, but tolerable. Keeping my weight up is a very important goal of mine throughout all of this, and I thankfully have been able to eat three meals both yesterday and today. I think keeping fueled lessens the symptoms a lot and keeps me from looking from too cancer patient-y. Thanks for the yummy Sloppy Joe's tonight Monica!

Today I went for my post chemo Neulasta shot (raises white blood cells), but the more exciting appointment was with my plastic surgeon for my first chest expander fills! So, what this means is that the nurse fills yet another gigantic syringe with saline solution, uses a magnet to find the injection point in each of my chest expanders, and then shoots the syringe's thin needle through my skin (only felt a little poke on each side) and fills each with 50cc's of saline solution. This will happen every week until my expanders grow to the size that I want my new boobs. Pretty cool, huh? Once they are the at the size of my liking (double D??), we stop expanding. Unfortunately, I'll be keeping the expanders until this time next year before I can have my exchange surgery (because I'll be getting radiation after chemo and that changes the breast tissue, so I have to wait until it heals), when they surgically remove my expanders and give me my "real" breast implants. So anyway, I now have teeny tiny breasts and a very sore chest as my skin and muscles expand. This should only last a few days each week after the fills. It's worth it, as I am so excited to be able to wear fitted t-shirts again without looking like a 7 year old boy.

Ok, Nick is demanding that I head to bed and I agree. I think I'm through the worst of this week's side effects and I'm ready to start feeling better every day.
We send our love to all near and far!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day!


Happy Happy Dad's Day!
I think the kids and I did a pretty good job of making Father's Day happy for the super special Dad of our little family today. Nick had a fun morning out golfing with his friend Matt while the super-sister Diane and I wrangled the kids at home. After golf, our friends Seth and Jen came for a quick visit and then my sweet friend Thea and her daughter Lane brought over every dad's fantasy dinner- KFC! (that's Kentucky Fried Chicken to you crazy health nuts) After dinner we opened Father's Day gifts which included tiny remote controlled helicopters. Of course there were two- one for Nick and one for Fisher. Oh yes, I'm a smart mom, this is definitely not my first rodeo. Nick and Fisher had a blast with them in the front yard until it got dark, then they brought them inside and flew some more. Yes, that's Fisher holding his helicopter in the photo, I think he's planning on sleeping with it.

Our weekend turned out exactly as we had hoped, I was feeling healthy the whole time (no fevers!) and we were able to have a BBQ Friday night, lunch AND dinner Saturday out at restaurants, and a special Father's Day for Nick today. I call how I'm feeling "the new normal". Meaning I'm not sick or in any pain, but I do always have the discomfort of my expanders in my chest, always feel somewhat fatigued (at least one nap a day is mandatory) and I always have kind of an odd "buzz" which reminds me that things are not quite right. But I definitely do have moments where I don't notice any of these things and am just having fun, like tonight watching Nick and Fisher fly their helicopters in the yard at dusk.

This crazy illness has opened my eyes to many things in a new light. Over the past two months especially, I have witnessed Nick's strength and courage in many, many ways. I am in love with way he is deeply involved in every aspect of my health care, running his business so intelligently and efficiently- and succeeding in this crazy economy, managing the majority of my "mom" duties when I'm not feeling well enough to perform (more often than not), loving and teaching our babes like I thought only I could do, and always reminding me that everything is going to be ok, even when I know he is as scared as I am. Nick, you are the love of my life and the most wonderful father to our children. Thank you for holding us together through what I hope is the hardest time in our lives.

On a day when we celebrate Dads, I also have to mention how much I love my Dad so very much. He is in Wisconsin and I got to talk to him today on the phone. While his voice sounded hoarse, it was great to speak with him and tell him I love him and wish him a happy day. As I've mentioned before, my Dad is pretty sick and I so wish I could be with him, especially today. I miss and love you Dad!!!

Tomorrow is Chemo Day #4, which means it's the last of the nasty, harsh, bright red medicine that Nurse Lyndsay administers by hand into my IV from a Jurassic-sized syringe. It's a milestone I've been looking forward to since we started this journey. I'm praying that my side effects are mild like last time. I'm just going to imagine that my Mom is here again to hold my hand. My next chemo medicine is Taxol, which has different, but expectedly gentler side effects. I'm definitely going to need my Xanex tonight to ward off the chemo day jitters which start right about now. I think a big piece of homemade fudge from neighbor Amy and glass of milk will help to start calm my nerves. Ok, that's it for tonight. Like usual, Nick or Rebecca will be blogging for me tomorrow night. I'll be too busy partying with the Chippendales to write (a girl can dream, can't she?)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bring On The Voodoo

It's Thursday evening, the kids are in bed and Nick is watching the finals basketball game. Seems like a cold is passing through our house so both babes were tucked into bed with socks and Vick's Vapor rub on their feet. Nick said he remembered his mom doing the same thing for him when he was little. Nick and I have managed to avoid the cold, but we both kind of feel it coming on. My doctor is not too worried, he said he's more concerned about internal infections for me than minor viruses from the kids. Tuesday was my last day of antibiotics, and right on cue, I got a low grade fever last night and today. We still don't know where it's coming from, and are just praying there's not something lurking under my tissue expanders. I'm feeling pretty good now, but don't know what my temp is because the thermometer has walked away. Not surprising in our household. Anyway, if my fever flares up again, I may have to go back on the antibiotics as a precaution. No big deal.

This afternoon my sweet friend Aimee whisked Fisher away for a playdate and my college friend Liz came by for a surprise visit. She brought great fun toys for the kids and a "no worry" bracelet for me. Who me worry? Come on! I loved having the chance to sit with Liz on my bed and catch up on our lives of kids (ours), cancer (mine) and summer travel (hers, not mine, damn it!). Thank you Liz, I loved seeing you today. It's pretty odd that I'm still shy about my bald head, but have no problem lifting my shirt to show my non-boobs and surgery scars. I wonder what a psycho therapist would say about that. Liz didn't seem to have a problem with either.

Tomorrow I head to Scottsdale to see my beloved acupuncturist, Dr. Powell. She is so very intelligent and extremely deep. I saw her regularly when I was trying to get pregnant, and I always said that my successful pregnancies were 40% due to Nick and 60% due to her. Sorry, Nick. Upon the suggestion of Nick's mom, I am now going to see her for nutrition advise as well as acupuncture to help manage chemo side effects, especially fatigue and lowered blood counts. I know some people think it's voodoo, but I am a total believer. Dr. Powell is incredibly intuitive and nurturing. I have a feeling I'll be a bit of a crying mess the minute I sit in her office. She's just one of those kind of people. I'm lucky to have her in my life.

This weekend looks pretty busy, on our standards. The wonderful Carlo family is coming for grilled bratts Friday night, Fisher's got a playdate Saturday morning, Nick and I have an early date night Saturday eve (thanks for sitting niece Caitlin!), and Nick is golfing Father's Day morning. Monday I'm back to chemo, sigh, with Rebecca by my side. I'm praying for a re-run of last time with minor side effects. It's gonna be my last of the harsh stuff, YAY YAY YAY!!! It's a pretty huge milestone. Good for me.

I'll post notes and photos as fun occurs this weekend. We send our love to everyone who reads my blog and all the many many friends who care for us in every way possible. Thank you!

p.s. Jenny-Jane drew on my bald head today with piece of chalk. What the hell?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Giving Thanks

Hi All!
I've been thinking about writing a post about all the amazing things our family and friends and friends of friends have been doing for us the past two months, but honestly, I'd be writing for days. Plus, I'd probably forget numerous things and then feel guilty about not including everyone, so that's not gonna fly. Guilt is not on my list of approved emotions this season (although it sneaks in without permission occasionally). Sorry, Catholic upbringing. But I do have to thank you for things like the meals that keep coming every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. We have enjoyed every one, and can honestly feel the love home-cooked into every dinner. We are very, very grateful for this gift.

So many gifts have arrived on our doorstep over the past few months. So to generalize, we have received flowers, food of every kind, booze, kringles (you Wisconsin folk know what I'm talking about), restaurant gift certificates, hats, scarves, toys for the kiddos, pj's, ice cream, jewelry, bubble machines, cakes, children's books, dirty joke books, inspirational books, cook books, girls trash books, candies, t-shirts, fruit bouquets, gag gifts including a plastic chicken, hot pink Everlast boxing gloves (no kidding!), movie certificates, spa certificates, ad libs, nail polish, kick it kick bumper stickers and magnets... oh my God, the guilt is surfacing because I know I'm missing another 50+ more things! Seriously, it's been unbelievable.

Then there are the services people are providing like planning playdates for my kiddos and taking them wherever they need to go, accompanying me to appointments, texting, emailing and calling. There is no need that is left unmet. I barely have to mention needing anything and the desire is instantly filled. Truly amazing.

There was one or actually two packages that arrived last week that kind of stunned us. Two Priority Mail boxes from Pennsylvania. One for Nick and one for me. Both contained two prayer shawls. One for each member of the family, appropriately sized and colored. Jenny-Jane's is a sweet pink pastel. The accompanying letters said they were gifts from Grace St. Paul United Methodist Church, I'm assuming in PA. Now, Nick and I are NOT religious people, but something sacred and serene descended on our home that night. People we don't know, from a place we don't believe we've ever been, prayed for our family and sent us these special and holy gifts. We all slept with our shawls that night and felt the love and blessings of everyone who has been serving our family in so many, many ways.

We'd love to know who instigated these shawls, so please leave us a comment or email or note or something. And to everyone else out there, please accept our extreme gratitude for helping our family through this incredibly difficult, but surprisingly inspirational chapter in our lives.
We send our love,

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Force Is With Us

Today started off in a pretty special way. Nick told me to get ready for a surprise breakfast at 8:15am, and wow, was it amazing. Little did I know that he had been conspiring with Matt Pool and his wife Ernie, the owners of Matt's Big Breakfast, Giant Coffee and Roosevelt Tavern. These three businesses have become keys to the redevelopment of downtown Phoenix, and since they are all in spitting distance from Nick's studio, he knows them well. Hell, you've got a diner, a coffee shop and a bar- of course Nick is in tight with them. Anyway, at 8:15am on the dot this morning, Ernie left her packed restaurant on the busiest morning of the week to hand deliver to our home a breakfast feast: waffles, pancakes, egg sandwich, egg scramble, the best pepper bacon in the city, potatoes and more that I can't remember. We ate like kings. Thank you Pool's!!! Can you deliver me a keg of beer next time?

Then Fisher started in on the Darth Vader obsession. On Friday, when we were practicing drawing people on his big sketch pad, he drew this thing that really did resemble a Star Wars character. He bluntly said, "that's Darth Vader". And so it began. He became crazed with needing a Darth Vader costume. He's never seen a Star Wars movie, he doesn't have any idea who this character is. Where did this come from?? Anyway, today Fisher and I had a date to the nearby costume shop where we found exactly what he was looking for. Hence, the photo. It was the first time Fisher and I had been out of the house together alone in almost two months. We had sooo much fun in the costume shop, although he may have nightmares from the ridiculously creepy stuff in there, but what a time we had. A drive through stop at Jack in the Box for lunch on the way back made it the perfect mom/son date. What just months earlier would have been a regular day in the life of a stay at home mom, today, was so incredibly special and memorable.

Our day ended with dinner out with the family. My first time since surgery. I was feeling good enough to go accompany the fam to a super hip new downtown spot called The Duce. It's a revitalized 1928 brick warehouse in a bad neighborhood now filled with a restaurant, bar, farmer's market, coffee shop, soda shop, clothing store etc. Plenty of room for the kids to dance and run, and for Nick and I to relax and enjoy their antics. Again, another memorable outing.

Oh, and I thought this photo of Jenny-Jane was really sweet, so I included it too. Don't want Darth to get all the attention. I'm thinking she'd look pretty cute as Princess Leia this Halloween!

Hope you are having a great weekend. Our Phoenix temps are in the 80's and we are enjoying every second of the below 100 degree weather. I'll be writing again soon. We've got so much more to say thank you for- the generosity of our friends and family (and those we haven't even met) continues to astound us.
With love

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I Miss You Mom!!

Hi Everyone!
I am writing to you from my favorite coffee shop in Phoenix, Lola, in an effort to feel a tad normal and escape the housecleaners this morning. I'm enjoying a decaf caramel something made with crazy calorie caramel syrup- the more calories the better to maintain my weight.

Our last post was from my Mom who was here for a short, but truly healing visit. I honestly attribute my very mild chemo reactions this week to having her love in the house. Just her holding my hand was like an electric current that banged out any remaining cancer cells, I could feel it. On Monday she accompanied me to chemo where nurse Lyndsay gave her a big welcoming hug that started the tears rolling. She also got to meet my wonderful oncologist, Dr. Wendt. I'm sure watching her youngest daughter getting pumped with toxic chemicals was torture, but she was brave. Wonderfully, after treatment, I was able to eat a good lunch, lay in bed with my mom next to me, chat for an hour and even take a 2-hour nap. My mom said she watched me sleep, how touching is that? I woke up feeling cruddy, but not terrible. No migraine! I even ate a little dinner and slept most of the night. A mom's love is incredibly powerful.

Tuesday took us back to the oncologist for my white blood cell boosting shot and then to the plastic surgeon to check on my infection. Things seem to be in good shape there, and I remain on five antibiotic pills each day. My mom left Tuesday afternoon and although I was heartbroken to see her go, I was more grateful that she could be here at all. I do think she was a bit stunned by how serious my condition is, and how difficult it is to run a household with kiddos under these circumstances. Nick, Diane and Judy are working their tails off all the time here, there is little reprieve. I guess I really do put a good spin on our lives right now, as even my Mom was surprised. So, I'm not going to be a big downer from now on, but I am going to give a few more gritty details as not to mask how hard this all really is.

Wednesday I attended a newcomers meeting at what seems to be an amazing community center for cancer patients and caregivers. It's in a beautiful restored historic home less than a mile from our house. I can take exercise, meditation and lots of other informational classes for free, pretty cool. I even met two other women going through breast cancer treatment and we lamented about how our hair loss has been one of the hardest parts of our journey. The meeting was waaaaaay to long and wore me out for the rest of the day, but I'm glad I went. I even had to cancel my physical therapy because I was so pooped. I'm guessing I was also coming down from the high of having my Mom here. I had a little pity party for myself last night, but seem to be better today.

Today I plan to take it easy and continue my chemo week recovery. I've learned not to push it too hard and to stay out of the heat. I've also learned that around day 8 after treatment (Monday or so) I need to be especially careful as my white blood cells drop and rise fast due to my Neulasta shot. I'm determined to get through this #3 chemo with no infection and definitely no more trips to the hospital. I'm hoping to finally have a "good week" after chemo where I can carefully act a little more normal.

Oh, and the photo above is from Tuesday before my Mom and I headed out to appointments. My Mom looks great, but I don't look my best. It was the day after chemo, so I'll give myself a break. I am realizing that my ears are huge! I hear that Super Glue works to keep them pinned back, oh, I'm not kidding :)

I send my love to all near and far,

Monday, June 7, 2010


This is Caroline, Kristin's Mom, here for a very short visit, just long enough to see her through her third session of chemo.
Although I miss Howie terribly, it's been so good to to be able to hug Kristin and to say "I love you," and tell her she's still our beautiful baby girl. Chemo today went very well, in spite of a slight fever last night, and she claims this is the easiest first day she's had. Obviously buttering me up in an attempt to get me back again.
We hadn't seen Nick or the children since last summer , so that's been an added bonus. Jenny-Jane is now this tiny little girl with ideas of her own, and Fisher has turned into a real charmer. He paid me the nicest compliment when I was drying him after his bath. He said I smelled like a Grandma. and when I asked what Grandmas smell like, he said "Good."
Although I haven't contributed to the blog, I follow it every day and I want to thank all of you who have supported Nick and Kristin, those who have prayed and cooked and driven and countless other acts of kindness. Special thanks to Virginia, Wendy, and Claudia for being here to be mother for me, and to Dinah who is just an angel in disguise.
We love you so much Kristin!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mom By My Side

She's here!!!! Yes, my mom arrived safely around noon today and seeing her was just as emotional as I expected. She hugged me and hugged me and we cried tears of relief to finally be together and tears of heartbreak that her baby is bald and skinny and scared and sick. Of course the kids had to show off all their best tricks for Grandma Caroline who they had not seen since our trip home last summer. We had lunch and then moved into the position I've been waiting for. I laid in bed, my mom sat beside my bed and my sister Diane laid next to me in bed. We chatted and laughed until it was time for me to nap. Exactly what I imagined and hoped.

Tomorrow is chemo #3, the second to the last of the nasty medicine. I'm excited for my mom to meet Dr. Wendt my oncologist and nurse Lyndsay, but I'm honestly dreading it more than ever. I know the first day is the worst. I'd compare it to a migraine teamed with the worst hangover of your life, and boy, I've had many doosies in that category. The worst part is all I want to do is sleep to make it go away, but sleep is totally impossible. Cruel. Only one day, only one day. I can do it. I warned my mom that I'm not responsible for what comes out of my mouth when I'm in the thick of it, and she said "what else is new?". Ah, gotta adore that unconditional love.

I'm happy to report that I'm sleeping so much better the past couple nights (except for Nick's wild patio poker game Friday night where I had to kick those raucous boys out at 2am- really??) so I actually enjoy going to bed again. My nightly xanex doesnt hurt either. I'll have Nick or my mom write a post about how the day went since I'll be out of commission. Wish me luck and I hope to be back again on Tuesday.
With love

Friday, June 4, 2010

Moms Rule

Thank God It's Friday!
So far, today has been pretty perfect. I'm feeling good, slept almost all night for the first time in over a month, was able to play with the kids this morning and then took a long nap. Fisher is out on a play date adventure and now Jenny-Jane is resting. I may even get out of my pjs, shower and drive to Walgreens to drop off some prescriptions- I'm such a dare devil!

Did you notice something new and fantastic about my blog site? Well, thanks to the never ending generosity of my North Central Parenting Group moms (that's a bunch of them above, are they gorgeous or what?) and one uber-talented husband, Neill Fox of Foxnoggin, I have a new "logo"! They delivered to me yesterday the above photo in a gorgeous silver frame along with my new logo upon my arrival back home. I know it took many minds and hands to organize this gift, thank you girls, thank you sooo very much. It's on my bedside table to see all day long. Jenny-Jane points to each gal in the photo and says "mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy". She has come to love so many of you through this. It certainly takes a village to get through surgery and chemotherapy, and I have quite an amazing village. Thank you for your "Big Love".

Speaking of mommies.... Guess What?? My Mom is coming!!!!! I know, I'm losing my mind I'm so excited. In case you did not know, my parents live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the same home where my family was raised. They have been married for 55+ years, no sh**. Sadly, in February, my Dad was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer from working with asbestos products his whole life, and is really sick. I know, it's crazy hard and my heart breaks because I love my Dad so very much and can't be there with him. My Mom has been desperate to come to my side, and thanks to my big brother Mike who will be able to keep my Dad company for a couple days, she will be with me for my third chemo session this Monday. In deciding when it would be best for her to come, I knew I wanted her here when I was the sickest. When I feel the worst, I just want my Mom to hold me and tell me everything is going to be ok. And now she can. I'm jumping out of my skin until she gets here Sunday.

Quick Health Update: When I left the hospital, my white blood cell count was 5200, yippee!, which is in the range of a normal person. I can eat fresh fruit and veggies all weekend (off my diet normally due to possible bacteria). My red blood cells have now taken a dip so I'm anemic, which keeps me a bit fatigued. I'll be eating steak and spinach to help get those back up. My surgery incisions are almost all healed and I should be able to do lifting, like Jenny-Jane, next week. Finally!!! The expanders in my chest are an uncomfortable constant nag, but I'm getting used to it. Still sleeping on my back due to them. I guess my biggest complaint is my hair or lack there of. I've been rubbing my head like a Buddha in the shower to get off the rest of the little dark spikes and I'm mostly left with short white hairs now, so much better than the dark. I still definitely scare myself every time I look in the mirror. I'll go more into that daunting subject at a later date. But for now, I'm feeling good, which is all I've wanted for weeks.

We are planning a quiet weekend at home, I'm sure with the kids in the pool nearly every minute. It's supposed to get to 110 degrees here in AZ over the next few days. I know, it's miserable. But I'm not. I'm home and feeling healthy and I'm with my family. I wish you the same simple pleasures and the ability to see the joy in everyday life.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Oh, YES, I am home!!! It is beyond words how good it feels to be back with my family, back in my house and back in my own bed. I was truly giddy as Nick and I drove home from the hospital today and we walked into the house to the sounds of the kiddos playing and their little feet running to meet us. Jenny-Jane was wearing a sweet little white dress with a matching white bow in her hair and honestly looks older after only four days. She got the biggest smile when she realized I was really, really home. Fisher is tan after his week of swim lessons and greeted me with arms open wide and his big "Mama!!". They then proceeded to show me all their new dance moves and jumping tricks in what seemed like an effort to regain my favor so I wouldn't leave them again. Don't worry babes, I'm here to stay.

We had a magical evening out by the pool with Fisher jumping off the diving board and swimming all the way to the other end (he is really an amazing swimmer and LOVES it), Jenny-Jane and Nick hanging out in the hot tub, and me sitting on the edge, legs in the water and watching it all with a joy and appreciation beyond explanation.

I feel like I may have over-did it a bit and I'm super pooped. I've got lots to report and will do so tomorrow, probably resting in bed with my iPad. In the words of our favorite heroine in the ruby slippers, there's no place like home.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hello Out There!!

It's Kristin here coming to you from Tower 6 at St. Joseph's Hospital. Yes, I'm doing soooo much better, so please don't worry. After 2 big days in my sterile little white room of constant IV antibiotic infusions and reality TV marathons, I'm feeling like a new person. Nick relayed in the last post our harrowing adventure of how and why I got here, so I won't dwell on that. Looks like I'll be here until Thursday doing the same thing which is frustrating, but necessary. Today we got the good news that my white blood cell counts are going up. Everyone who enters my room still wears masks, which is freaky, but hospitals are dirty places and I know it's for my own protection. I'm learning what's not too gross on the hospital menu and how to take a shot in the stomach like a pro (thin needles, not too bad).

Nick's on triple duty among attending to me here, working and caring for the kiddos. Diane is doing the same. Nanny Judy's got the kids covered during the day and Fisher even started swim lessons today. I miss my family terribly. I've never been away from home this long. I understand chemo and the body's reactions rarely follow the set path, but this was a surprise to all of us. Thank goodness i've got an amazing husband, a strong support system, kids who are too little to really know what's going on and a tv with cable.

I'm still scheduled for chemo this coming Monday, believe it or not. Knock me down, pick me up, knock me down, pick me up. It's the chemo tango. Only six more to go and only two are the super harsh ones. Thank you to everyone for their prayers and love and support. We are getting through this, bumps in the road and all.

I'm going to try to get some sleep tonight so I can be fresh for my new reality tv friends tomorrow!