Thursday, September 27, 2012


I read this article today about a woman who pretended to have bladder cancer, and for her pains, she was given meals, cash, and even had her wedding paid for by friends and family.  She's not the only one who has pretended to be sick in order to gain from her lies.  One woman recently faked a cancer diagnosis, breast cancer no less, in order to get money for breast implants.  Uh huh.  Classy.  I feel sick and furious and sad that anyone would go to such lengths for money or attention.

I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone.  Anyone.  It's horrible and frightening and absolutely life-changing.  I can't pretend to know what it feels like to have to go through treatment after treatment in order to fight cancer: I was lucky.  Every doctor I saw and continue to see has said that if someone has to have cancer, thyroid cancer is the "best" kind to have because it's easily treatable.  After two surgeries, my cancer is gone...for now.  It could recur, but the chances of that happening are pretty slim.  There's that luck again.

Although I haven't had to have chemo or radiation treatments, I'm still affected by it all.  Days go by without a thought of what happened, but other days, I wonder why I got so lucky when others I know have had a terrible time dealing with illness.  I think about the fact that I lived with cancer invading my body, and I didn't even know it.  I think about the fact that it could have been so much worse, and for some reason, it simply wasn't.  Lucky.

But the thing is, it's never really over.  The cancer could return, and that's something I have to live with.  When I get a little tickle in my throat, I wonder if it's back.  When I am feeling particularly run-down, I wonder if it's back.  When I cough, I wonder if it's back.  The worry lives in me like a tiny fly, buzzing around my brain, my heart, my stomach.  I know it's there, and I don't know how to get rid of it so I can go back to the way things were before.  Of course, I can't.  I'll spend the rest of my life with the nagging thought that something could be slowly growing inside me, taking over my body without my knowledge and without my permission.

These people who have pretended to be sick should have to go and talk to parents who have lost their children to cancer.  They should have to talk to people who have watched their loved ones slowly waste away because of the cancer monster.  They should volunteer at a hospice center or a children's hospital, deliver meals to survivors, or drive patients to treatment.  They should talk to survivors who have to go back year after year, always hoping they hear that their cancer hasn't returned.  But the one thing they shouldn't do is have to deal with their own cancer diagnoses because no one ever should.  I did, and I was lucky.  But not everyone is.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

September morns

I haven't blogged much at all lately, but it's not for lack of desire.  I'm simply exhausted by the end of the day, and that's usually the only time I have to sit down with the computer to write.  The morning routine has evened itself out but, man, it's tiring.  

I get up around 6:15 every morning in order to have a little time to myself before the nuttiness of the day begins.  I usually have until 7:00, but occasionally, Lottie decides to make an early start of things and begin her daily chat-fest while I'm still in the shower.  Good times.  Normally, I wake the kids up at 7:00, but that always takes a few minutes of groaning, yawning, stretching, and protesting before they're both actually up and at 'em.  They begin breakfast although something usually distracts them and I spend the next twenty minutes or so saying, "Let's concentrate on eating, guys." I probably say that forty times in those twenty minutes: you do the math.  Then we all troop back upstairs for dressing and grooming, and my phrase of choice is, "GUYS!  IT IS TIME TO GET DRESSED!" Because, you know, jumping on the bed or playing pirate is much cooler than getting ready for school.  By the time we get everyone zipped, buttoned, brushed, and washed, we're already late to get Dallas to the 8 AM drop-off.  Luckily, we don't live too far from school, and we're rarely the only car running behind.  Once Dallas is out of the car, Lottie and I run errands.  I can't drop her off at school until 8:30, so I try to use those thirty minutes to my advantage.  Running errands with Lottie is interesting, to say the least. She inevitably asks for candy or a toy no matter where we are, and getting her to move along is like herding molasses.  If there aren't any errands or if we have time before her drop-off, I park the car in the Flint Lake Elementary driveway, and we read together.  I know Lottie really enjoys the quiet reading time, as do I, but I have a feeling her favorite part of this activity is that she sits on the console in between the two front seats while I read to her.  Rule-breaking!  In front of the school!  We could get arrested!  When the clock says it's time, she heads out the car door to school, her backpack making her look a bit like a drunken, albeit adorable, turtle.  

I'm home by 8:35 with a few minutes to relax and enjoy the silence.  I eat breakfast (which I can't eat any earlier due to my apparent inability to absorb Synthroid, thus necessitating two hours between taking the meds and food entering my body) and decide which task I am going to tackle.  I'm usually just getting into the groove of cleaning out the basement storage area, going through the kids' closets to weed out old clothes, or scrubbing the showers when I look up and realize it's 10:45.  Sigh.  I take five minutes to try to disguise the fact that I'm a sweaty cow and leave to go get Dallas.  I always end up feeling like I should have accomplished more in my two hours and ten minutes of freedom, but I know I do as much as I can.  One of these days, I'm going to blow off any attempt at working, lie on my bed under a blanket, and read all morning.  

And those are my typical mornings. Most times they're enough to make me feel like I have lived a whole day by 8 AM.  They're rushed and hurried and stressful, but I also get to hear hilarious and bizarre conversations that I wouldn't otherwise get to hear.  And if I'm really lucky, I get some sweet morning cuddles from both of my snuggly little cubs.  

For those of you who are thinking that I need to enjoy the crazy mornings with my kids because soon enough they're be running out of the door in the mornings without a backward glance, I say I won't notice because I'll still be under the blankets fast asleep.  So bring it on, my friends.  Bring.  It.  On.  (Kidding.  Sort of.)

--And for those of you who have asked, my thyroid levels are still out of whack.  They're slowly coming down but not as quickly as the doctor and I would like.  Once again, I have a higher dose of Synthroid, and I will go back in six weeks to have my levels tested again.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

1,460 days

My dearest boy,

It's impossible to believe that I wrote this blog to celebrate your third birthday an entire year ago.  So much has happened in the past year, and throughout it all, you have remained your sweet self.

Bubble boy

You have handled the biggest change of the year, The Move, with as much grace as a three year old boy could have.  Sure, you have had your moments of meltdowns, but those have been few and far between.  Overall, you have really taken to our new home in a new town with joy and ease.  I was worried, to tell the truth, because change isn't usually your bag.  When faced with a new situation, you tend to hold back, let things unfold, and then decide what you think about it all.  But with The Move, you were ready to embrace something new.  It helped that we had visited Valpo so many times and that we had family here, but it still could have been really difficult.  You have taken to your new school...I think.  You are happy when I drop you off and happy when I pick you up.  Often, that's the only clues I get to however your day was.  You're not big into talking about your activities of the day, but you share things with me throughout the week in little bits and pieces.  That's just who you are, though, so it doesn't bother me in the least.  I'm on a need-to-know basis with school information, and I suppose that's something I should get used to.

At one of Kate's volleyball games

You're still really, really obsessed with pirates.  Your new room is loaded with pirate paraphernalia, and you love to play in there.  One of my favorite things that you do is your "evil" pirate laugh: you fancy yourself as quite the scurvy cur.  I'm pretty sure you would wear your pirate costume 24/7 if I would let you.  Quite frankly, I have let you from time to time because it was a lot easier than arguing with you.  We recently went to the courthouse in town, and you were in full pirate regalia.  You couldn't take your hook inside because no weapons were allowed, but that's about the only time you haven't had a hook or sword in your hand.  You're also crazy about super heroes, the Avengers in particular.  I know next to nothing about all that stuff, but you don't seem to notice or care.  We have supplied you with enough super hero shirts and shoes to last you a lifetime...or at least until you grow out of them.

I'll throw you in the brig, me bucco! 

Your current favorite thing to do is browse Halloween catalogs.  There is something about dressing up like a rough and tough guy that really appeals to you.  I wish I knew if that was because that's how you see yourself or if it's who you wish you could be.  Either way, it's fun to watch you change your mind a million times a day about what costume you want to wear for Halloween.  You also love to sit at a little desk in your bedroom and look at books at night.  I wish that you wouldn't feel the need to pull every single book off the shelf every single night, but I can't complain too much about reading.  And you do read.  You know how to spell like nobody's business, and you read a crazy amount of words.  I'm not sure you understand how wonderful that is for so many reasons.  Not only is reading awesome but you use books to entertain yourself all the time, so I know you're going to learn the joy of losing yourself in a book.

Don't bother me.  I'm reading. 

You have become braver and more confident in the past year.  You used to be afraid of being in the pool, but you have come to enjoy it.  You don't mind getting dirty as much as you used to as long as it's all in the name of fun.  (Or if Lottie tells you to get dirty.)  New things can still stress you out, but somehow you have learned to adapt to them quicker than you used to.  You're growing and maturing so quickly that it easy to forget sometimes that you're only four years old.

Splashing in puddles on S. Ashland Ave. 
Mud fun

You say "sometimes" when you mean "sometime" and it makes Lottie crazy.  You tell your sister that she's being "undorable" when she annoys you.  You like to call people "bilge rat" and "scurvy dog" when the mood strikes you.  I mean, you're a funny kid, and you have absolutely no idea how hilarious you are.  You make us laugh, and that's the best gift of all.  One thing that I admire about you is the fact that you know exactly what you want: you know who you are.  You like to play your own games, and you enjoy taking some time alone.  If someone offers you something or wants to do something with you that doesn't appeal to you, you simply say, "No, thanks."  You are politely unapologetic about doing your own thing.  I think we could all learn from that.

Making silly faces at Cinderella's Royal Table

You still love to cuddle me, and I take advantage of that every minute that I can.  I know that someday you won't run up, kiss me, and say, "I love you so much, Mom." You might still give me a one-armed hug now and again, but you won't want me to snuggle with you in the morning before school.  You won't lay your big head against my shoulder when you're hurt and just need your mama.  But in my heart I know that you will always be my sweet, tender, smart, empathetic boy.  That's who you are, and that's who you will always be.

Snuggling with your fire truck 

Daddy and I are so proud of you every day, and we love you so, so much.

Pic pirate,  (Not a typo - just a private message to Dallas)


Precious down time

Loud noises are still not exciting