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May, 2012

  1. There is no Stage V

    May 29, 2012 by Momma Bear

    I woke up this morning and it was garbage day AGAIN.  Just saying – I really can’t figure out how that keeps happening.

    Treatment is affecting me… I know this because I am really tired and pretty spacey and spell-check is having to work overtime.  All in all, though, it’s not so bad.  I still really feel like if you HAVE to have fucking cancer, you would be pretty lucky to be surrounded by the people I am.  Except for my ex, and only in my treatment haze am I allowing myself the luxury of admitting ‘out loud’ how appalling his behavior is.  That is the ONE truly low self-pitying moment I have had over and over… and here goes Alanis Morrisette again… but if lung cancer is the #1 cancer in firefighters, how did *I* get it, not him???  Okay, enough.  I suspect I will regret hitting ‘publish’ but keeping it real this morning.

    Keeping it real.  This clip makes me laugh SO much, I have watched it a million times and shown it to people over and over – no one finds it as funny as me, I’m sure.  Sorry if it makes you watch an ad first… it’s worth it.

    This morning I am scared.  Doing a lot of second guessing of myself for not mentioning the headaches, or the other thing that started just around the same time, which is a weird lower backache.  Not muscular, more spinal in the base.  And I did it again… the first few days I pulled it, the next few I am deconditioned, the next few it’s cramps… when finally I have to admit that ummm…. YUP, I think I have some bone pain.  I did mention it and now I am having a PET scan this morning.  The scanxiety is getting to me.  And now my brain is working overtime and every little feeling is being highly analyzed for potential cancer risk.  I sooo don’t want to be that girl.  Plus I totally screwed it up and am now worried I am fasting for nothing (not an easy task on steroids… I’m not going on a bull named Fu Man Chu, but you should see what I can do to those cupboards in 2.7 seconds).  I am pretty spacy, and to be fair, this is my first pet scan with this timing involved… but in my focus of what I was supposed to do THIS MORNING for it, I forgot there was some stuff I was supposed to do last night.  Which, for example, is eat a high protein low-carb dinner.  That is no part of what I did, but dinner was one of the yummiest and most enjoyable meals ever… thank you Goldbugs.  So now I’m wondering can they do the test?  And how much more of this can I take?  And WHY am I so freaking nervous???  I keep telling myself there is no Stage V.  I mean, I already have Stage IV cancer… could it REALLY be worse?  All I accept it means is just more treatment, and bring it bring it bring it.  I envision a day, though, where this stage is behind me.  I can accept that this will be a chronic disease for me, but I am determined and hopeful that we can find a way to manage it and keep living.  A different life for sure, but a blessed one nonetheless.  And here is my little tiny plea… I would like to do that without too much irreversible bodily damage.  Just saying.

    Time to make the donuts.  Because life does go on.  And hey cancer???  The biggest FUCK YOU to you today!


  2. Double Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

    May 22, 2012 by Momma Bear

    First off, I just have to say CURSE YOU HELLO KITTY DIARY!  I’m pretty sure that I was falling trap to my old style of “Dear Diary, I don’t have anything to say, so bye!”  It seems the universe has other plans for me, though.  More ass-kicking plans.  I’m gearing up for another fight here.  And apparently I have a lot to say about it.

    Let me back up just a little.  I had actually been working on a post  which was all about just complaining feeling like I don’t have time or room for cancer in my life.  I didn’t even have time to finish the post, which, yes, like much of my life, is rather ironic.  (Don’t ya think?  Yes, Alanis Morrisette is running through my head now.  Awesome.  But I did finish the post, even though it was late.  See below.)

    Anyways.  About 2 weeks ago I started having a nagging headache.  Nothing terrible, all perspective, didn’t even take advil for it.  But it was there every morning when I woke up and the usual cure of sleep didn’t help a bit.  At first, I blamed a hangover (yep, that’s still how I roll), then allergies, then ovulation (my brother David is sooo grossed out right now), then stress, then not drinking enough water… you get it.  So, finally I called in.  The nurse said that they weren’t particularly worried, but that since they would likely have me do a brain scan soon, they would do one now just to set my mind at ease.

    (Dark foreshadowing music here.)  I went TODAY at noon.  The tech was super nice, no issues.  She said they would have the report to my oncologist around 1:00 p.m.  At 1:07, the secretary called to say that “HE” needed to see me right away and I should come at 4:40.  Ummm, okay.  THEN, when I was trying not to stress out shopping at Costco (because, oh yeah, I have kids that like to eat), his nurse called to say that I should make sure not to come alone.  WHAT????  This is the same man that I know I have driven crazy (even though he is much too nice to ever admit it although he kinda has) with a room full of people.  And now he WANTS me to come with people???  Hmmm.   I’m no rocket scientist, but…

    So, I went with people.   My mom and other mom (for those of you that don’t know my family, I mean my mom and step-mom… I don’t have 2 mommies in THAT way, not that there is anything wrong with that) were in the room with me, when the door opened,  in came my doctor… AND THE SOCIAL WORKER!!!  Are you with me, peeps?  Would you have the same reaction?  Cuz  I have gotten a LOT of bad news, but that is the first time the social worker (who is totally delightful, by the way, and none of this is a reflection on her) has been there.  I think I blurted out, “Oh wow, you must have REALLY bad news for me!”

    And he did.  At least I know I’m supposed to think that.  The fucking cancer has metastasized to my brain now.  Seems like that is pretty much a glass half-empty thing.  I love my oncologist, who I can only hope is having a big ol’ giant martini  with a whole bunch of pepperoncinis tonight.  But, seriously… I already knew I had stage 4 cancer… is this *that* shocking? And the glass-half-full is now I’ll get to DO something about it.  I’m ready to fight like hell.  BRING IT.

    So, here we go again.  Brain radiation starting tomorrow, and then we’ll follow it up immediately with a systemic chemo.  I may be ineligible for clinical trials now, but with results coming soon on the genetic testing, I am still hopeful that there will be something.

    Damnit, my hair was just starting to look like a girl again and was ALMOST cute.  I’ll probably shave it off this weekend – head radiation causes some craaaazy hair­ loss-patterns and I don’t think I want to deal with it.

    I’m not ready to talk about it yet, but I did tell the cubs.  Man, do I love those little ones.  They only experience cancer as I do, so I like to think that I am teaching them to be strong, not give up, and to make the most of the hand you are dealt.  (GREAT.  Now I have Kenny Rogers and “The Gambler” stuck in my head!”)

    I was worried the appearance of the social worker meant “the talk” was coming.  I *NEED* to know that my doctors aren’t giving up on me – that they will help me keep fighting.  My doctor swore in front of the witnesses this wasn’t the case, and that there is a lot of room here to still do some ass-kicking (my word, not his).

    So, saddling up!  Here we go!

    And, Cancer?  You listening?  You picked on the wrooooooong momma bear.  FUCK YOU!


  3. But I don’t have the right shoes for crazy

    May 22, 2012 by Momma Bear

    (And yes, this whole post is not going to be especially p.c., and I am sensitive to the issues of mental illness and understand that for people living with mental health issues and their loved ones – there is nothing funny about it.  It’s been one of those weeks though.)

    There are several reasons why going crazy is not an option.   Most of them are the obvious ones, like I am the custodial “stable” parent, etc etc… but it’s more than that.  It occurred to me this morning that I just don’t know what I would WEAR to crazy.  And while I am sure I could piece something together from all the too-small clothes, I for SURE don’t have the right shoes.  I also don’t know where I could possibly put it in to the packed schedule right now to go shopping for footwear.  So, although crazy was looking awfully good this morning, I decided not to go there.  For now.

    More than I don’t have time to go shopping for crazy shoes, I *REALLY* don’t have time for cancer.  And right here is where I am going to be preaching to the choir to all the moms out there.

    I had an appointment with my oncologist yesterday.  I really heart that man.  [ No real news… more waiting. I will have a CT scan the end of May and hopefully then have the genetic testing results and THEN can make a decision.  Really thinking I will do something in the realm of experimental… and as my doc pointed out, there is always the traditional to fall back on.  We also talked cocktails.  Just saying.]  Anyways.  My point here was that my appointment was at 3:40.  I had to take the cubs because I couldn’t figure out how to make it everywhere else if they weren’t with me.  They were heavily bribed perfect angels and made me look really good.  So, I picked them up at school, and went to the appointment.  18 miles.  We drove home really quick to change into the appropriate sports gear.  14 miles.  Took Cub 2 to baseball practice.  9 miles.  Left him there and took Cub 1 to lacrosse pictures.  8 miles.  He forgot his white jersey, so had to run home and bring it back.  4 miles.  Left him there and went back to get Cub 2.  8 miles.  Met Cub 1 and friends for buffet night at our favorite pizza place… because oh yeah, it was 7:30 and the cubs needed to eat and I realized I had forgotten to eat lunch in between work and my appointment.  9 miles.  Not counting work… I drove SEVENTY MILES after school yesterday.  WHAT?!?  This is most parents’ lives with kids this age and in sports, so not really asking for sympathy here.  Just feeling it

    What I am REALLY feeling here, though, is the ‘single parenting’ thing.  It’s not just the driving and scheduling.  It’s not just that the kids don’t eat unless I feed them.  (Although that is a lot of pressure…) It’s not even that there is no one to tag ‘it’ when I have reached the end of my rope and oh-my-gawwwwwwwwwd-they-are-fighting-again-and-is-that-SHOES-they-are-throwing-at-each-other?  It’s just the sheer overwhelming volume of all the stuff there is TO DO.  I have girlfriends doing this that make it look easy but oh-for-the-love, it so isn’t.  I don’t get how I am supposed to work, do all the house and yard stuff, do all the shopping and cleaning and cooking and washing and omg the flaundry, AND do all the mom things, and OH YEAH!  I HAVE FUCKING CANCER!  And SERIOUSLY — how is it ALWAYS garbage day AGAIN???  So, I ask you…  am I so tired because I have cancer, or because I’m a single mom?

    If I *do* decide to go crazy, then I would have lots of time to see my girlfriends.  They could come visit and we could do fun supervised crafts together.  Looking better and better, just saying.

    But now, the cubs are sleeping… both curled up in my bed waiting for me to get in that most special spot right in between them.  They are so beautiful and angelic (they’re sleeping, remember?) and I think of all the silliness, laughter, sweetness… their funny conversations, sayings, their curiosity and wonder…  I think I will stay here for now.  Don’t even think I will hit the online sites for shoes.

    But, hey cancer???  FUCK YOU.