Monday, April 25, 2011


Easter morning front yard egg hunt in pj's

Nick is the master egg hider in our family
Jenny-Jane just wanted "more candy!"

The golden egg!

Jenny-Jane looking petting zoo pretty
Happy Day After Easter!
Holidays at the Howers aren't always traditional, but we do things that make us all happy, and ultimately, isn't that exactly the way things should be?  Because we live far from both families, we are free to conduct our holidays at our own silly pace.  To recap, Easter morning started with Jenny-Jane and Fisher finding their Easter baskets and pretty much eating their weight in sugar by 8am.  We enjoyed our homemade brunch on the back patio and then proceeded to the front yard for our own personal egg hunt.  By 10am we were in the hot tub, bloody mary's in hand, and by noon we were at the club for the petting zoo and fancy shamancy egg hunt, ours was MUCH better, by the way.  Next came naps for all, and then over to our dear friends the Evans for potluck dinner and the third egg hunt of the day, along with 30 of our favorite friends and their kids.  This big group has become our Phoenix family.  I'm not sure what we did to deserve this level of truly special friendships, but it must have been pretty good.  We did miss my sister Diane this weekend, but she kept us fat and happy with gorgeous Easter cookies as she jetted off to visit my Mom in Wisconsin.  

I just love the traditions we have established in our little family.  Far from relatives, clear across the country, we've been given the opportunity to blaze our own trail in the way we raise our children and celebrate the holidays.  Yes, Nick and I bring our favorite family customs into the mix, but some of our most cherished rituals were started right here on Verde Lane.  Were were hot tubbing in Milwaukee at every celebration?  Heck no, but we do here in Phoenix, and I know the kids will always fondly remember that.

In addition to the Easter fun, I have a bit of a "whew" to report.  Last Tuesday I visited my dermatologist for my annual skin exam.  When you live in Arizona and have had your best friend die of melanoma, it's an appointment you don't miss. I had not seen Dr. Romine (woman) since before my diagnosis so she got an earful of my eventful past year.  She checks out all the moles etc. and pauses on a little spot I had return on my nose after an initial nitrogen removal a few years ago.  She lops off a chunk of the tip of my nose for a biopsy, and sends me on my way with "I'm sure it's nothing but we need to double check with your recent cancer history." The nurse hands me a brochure entitled "Skin Cancer".  Crap.  Let the anxiety begin.

So, I spent the past week with a gross, flesh toned little bandage on my nose, and a fear in the pit of my stomach.  I got the all-clear in the form of a voicemail from the dermatologist's office this afternoon, which is exactly what I wanted to hear, but I also got my first taste of real recurrence terror.  While skin cancer would be a whole new ball of wax from breast cancer, I experienced that "Oh my God, I've got to do this all over again" fear.  I've heard the "I'm sure it's nothing" before, and I believed it once.  I now know better, which is too bad. The "everything is going to be ok" bubble of mine has been popped. Rightfully so, I guess.  I made it through this little scare fairly unscathed, but I know I'm going to have a lot more of these trails in my future.  This is life after cancer, that "living in limbo" and waiting for the other shoe to drop thing.  It's scary.

But I don't want to end on a negative note.  We are all happy and healthy.  We just shared a fantastic Easter together and I wasn't a worry wart about the skin cancer thing all weekend, truly, I wasn't. My house is full of candy and my family is tucked safely in their beds.  I'm off to steal some treats from their Easter baskets and end my day with the knowledge that sometimes when the doctor says "I'm sure it's nothing," they truly mean it.

with love

1 comment:

  1. A co worker of mine sent me your blog....and I just took a day off to read the entire thing. I am so glad she shared since, although I have no kids... I got the same news as you on 4/7/11, and I am just starting on this jouney. Knowing what you went through and how you describe each treatment has calmed me down. Like you I have 5 grade 3 all in the right. Unlike you I have a month before I find out the stage and treatment. I have a team, that I trust, but there are days I can't sleep or shake the fear. While I work with a few survivors...I don't know anyone who is not at least 50 that has been through this. I am 45 and you give me hope. Thank you for that!