Saturday, September 30, 2006

I Have Been to The World of "You don't have to make a choice, you can have it all."


But not in a bad way. You don't have to choose anything when you are on a cruise. If you want Venison and Crab and Lamb, you order it all. No reason to deny yourself anything. I even had extra brussel sprouts because I love them.

I am back. I have almost no pictures but I had a great time. Margaret and Mary-Jane and I left for Vancouver on Saturday. We drove up and stopped to see Simon. Of course we took him to lunch. One must always feed the college students. I ran into my cousin Jean.

We entered Canada and found all the special places that we wanted to shop. What a great place! We went to a place Margaret loves called Noddys Bon Tons. We had tea and had our cards read by a little old white haired Scottish guy. I totally agreed with everything he said about Margaret and Mary-Jane. Mine of course was only partly right. Good stuff right, bad stuff wrong. He said I was bossy and controlling. See, not right.

We had a good Italian dinner and then entered the cruise ship. I made spa appointments and we started to relax. What a way to live. Only decision, where shall we hang out and relax next? We meet some great people, the guy that developed Alpental, sold it and moved to Sun Valley. A guy that was from Florida, DEA, FBI, and once we decided politics would not be our dinner conversation, we did great. Lydia, the little 81 year old Scottish lady. She had been a florist and did Margaret Trudeu's wedding. She loved when we asked for her shortbread recipe. (Guess what everyone gets for Christmas).

Lots of sleep, lots of rest, some book reading, some show watching, movie watching and just watching the ocean go by.

Great trip, thanks for all everyone did to make sure I had a good rest. I would go again.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Right Direction

My "leaving town by myself " management skills are not the greatest. I am just a bit rusty. I guess I really have not left for a very long time. Margaret and I are supposed to be going on a cruise. Yes, I am getting on a large floating hotel and going to the Midnight Buffet. I will in fact have to set my alarm to get up. I have not been up at midnight for a very long time.

Okay so it is a bit weird, we are traveling via Mary-Jane MiniVan to Vancouver BC. Boarding the ship and traveling to Seattle. We have a day of excursion in Seattle ( I am going to Children's for a bad chemo day and Margaret is going to work) We get back on the boat and head to LA. No other stops.

They are moving the ships that have been traveling to Alaska down south to do the Mexico trips. It was dirt cheap and I am so ready for a couple of days of floating.

Plans for the Cruise:

I am going to read, spend time in the spa, hair, nails, massage and then read some more. I am going to watch movies and people. I am going to try and relax. I left once, in August of 2005 for three days and M-E ended up with hives and our trip to Venice was postponed and........ I am hoping this goes better.

Tucker is going to Camp Lucky Dog. He is such a handful and I figure that if he has a million dogs to chase around with he will be very happy. M-E and Sadie are spending a night with Vickie. She was gracious enough to say yes. Lori is coming to Seattle on Sunday and leaving on Wednesday. The other parents are doing the carpool for Holy Names. Lori will be picking up. Johnny is taking care of M-E and Sadie on Wednesday night.

I think it is handled. I hope it goes well, I suggested I not leave until Sunday on the train and M-E suggested in the most stern way that I needed to get out of town.

So......... Click on the link above and you shall see where I will be.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Light the Night


We went to Greenlake last night to watch this event. It is put on by Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I have wanted to partcipate for a couple of years but September has never been a good month for us. I have also had a fair amount of resitance from M-E. She does not feel like a survivor. Dr. Tracy said that Lance Armstrong says that you are a survivor from the day your receive your diagnosis but cause each day your are surviving.

During the walk everyone is given a balloon. Red ones are for those touched by cancer, supports and the like. White balloons are for those who have survived. Lets put it this way, way way to many people have been touched by cancer and there are not enough survivors. It really bumbed me out not to see more than a couple dozen white balloons and hundreds of red balloons.

I have a couple of theory's about that. One being that by the time you get to survival you are just exhausted. It is hard to ask anyone to support anything because they have given so much. That being said you are all required to participate in a walk around Greenlake a year from now. I am going to enlist Holy Names and Odea and St. Joseph's to come out and support one of their own. I know there are more survivors out there and it is time they show up to their party.

It was beautiful to see so many people with lit up balloons on a walk around a dark lake. It is very appropriate given that cancer is like a dark lake with light around the edges.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

REMISSION DAY

PURPLE.....Must be the color of remission. I don't know why is should not be. It steeped in tradition and valued by the royals world wide, including the Pope. It must have the highest significance and should be today's color.

Remission: a word we in the cancer world cling to like drowning passengers of the Titanic. Remission in Leukemia World can be a fleeting thing or an elusive thing. Some kids go into REMISSION within 7 days of treatment beginning. Then there are those with cancer that is more stubborn. M-E had the stubborn kind and did not make it until September 13, 2004. We never went through the process hoping for day 7 remission, only to be told it had not occurred and were facing 6 months of additional treatment. We were always on the "everything and more" plan. I have seen the faces of the parents that did not have a child in remission by 7 days. It is a sad sad thing.

While M-E had the stubborn kind of Leukemia, she did not have the totally disrespectful nan-nan-nan kind. Some Leukemia just laughs at chemo therapy and thinks that the refusal to go away will let it stay. Well those doctors at Children's Hospital are not stupid. They have really big bags of drugs and they are not afraid to use them. Eventually Remission is achieved and then the bone marrow just has to be replaced. It does not behave and it is just flushed out of the body and new and kinder and better bone marrow gets to set up residence. ( Say an extra prayer for Elise.)

Two years, two years, two years. I can not believe it has been two years. Mary-Elizabeth woke up to a small box in the mouth of Tucker. Small turtles were held within. They are very special turtles. They had been waiting at the jewelry story for the last two years. I figured they must have been waiting for her to arrive at this point.





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Tuesday, September 12, 2006

A Burning Bush

I am not sure what the remission prayer is but I have been experimenting for a couple of years with just very long sessions of pleading and begging and just practicing the old acceptance and trusting mode.

Mary-E is studying comparative religions now and many themes travel through each faith practice. The key word seems to be faith. The old trusting requirement. I just would like a few little signs and a few little rays of hope each day. Maybe a burning bush would be nice. Some old guy in the desert was visited by one so we know it is possible!

After I quit whinnying, I realize that the sun comes up each day, without fail. The birds sing each day without fail. My daughter tells me she loves me each day without fail. The kindness of strangers flows each day without fail.

Maybe I am looking for the wrong type of sign.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Poem that Touched M-E's Heart.

This was written by a teen-ager that did not make it through her cancer treament. M-E send this to lots of people and then used it as a prayer at school. We all have these moments of hurry scurry. Being reminded of the good things is very useful.

SLOW DANCE
Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done!

Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down


Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi"

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.
When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there
.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.--------------------

New Friends

Tucker has a new friend down the street. Meet Barney. He is a 12 week old Soft Coated Wheaten terrier. Tucker and Barney roll and jump and bite at each other and then do it again. The neighbors are amazed at the amount of noise these guys can make. Oh, well. New friends can be noisy.

M-E is making new friends. It is easier for puppies but and less biting.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Week Two and almost Year Two and how I flunked Back to School Night

Things that have grown this Summer.


Two weeks of school. No late arrivals, no true disasters other than I wore her green socks on spirit day..... How was I to know that "they were my only pair of green socks" said in a very disgusted tone with lots of emphasis on ONLY. Oh, well, I figure with everything else going on that is only a tiny infraction.

This week was Back to School Night. You go with 1000 other parents and sit in the auditorium, ( in a place you can escape.) You have a very needed prayer, introduction to all the important players like the Auction Chair and development (money raising folks) and then the Principal gives a little talk. Then all the teachers introduce themselves and what they teach. And then you are dismissed to attend the classes. 10 minutes per class, 4 minutes between classes and then done.

Oh, yeah, did I mention that I can never figure out that the main floor seems to be the 2nd floor and that sometimes I get lost when I have to figure out such things? Did I mention that I have not seen some of these people for a very long time and maybe have to stop and chat? Did I mention that the teachers have that "look" even for the parents when they come into class late? Did I mention that you are not supposed to talk in the hall? Did I mention that Sister Mary-Annette had a birthday and so I had to stop and see her once I trekked to the 4th floor? Did I point out that 4 minutes is NOT ENOUGHT TIME TO DO ALL OF THAT?

Did I mention that I skipped school? Since Mary-Elizabeth can be removed from Holy Names because of my behavior, I thought it was better to be gone than be late to another class.

Biggest news. Next Wednesday, the 13th, is 2nd anniversary of Remission. Great day for her, 8 more years to go before we use the word Cure, but every year is a step.

Did I mention that following rules was never by stong suit?

Friday, September 01, 2006

ONLY A RE-RUN FROM TWO YEARS AGO. JUST FOR A CONTRAST TO SHOW HOW FAR WE HAVE COME.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

We have a "Nurse Visit" Today
So, shall we start a pool to see who can guess when we will come home. I want to say by 5:00 p.m. because now I am ready to be at the hospital. We have bags, new ones from Landsend have not been packed, but old ones have. We have communication devices, computers, books, fun hand projects, in-patient and out patient notebooks. We have a plan. WE ARE READYGood news. M-E has been able to go to some school. She made it a couple of hours yesterday before the heat and excitement and chemo induced tummy rebellion began. She was able to get up and to school today and I have not received a call. She is such a trooper. She has a smile and great attitude. She is a tough kid. We learned yesterday that it is better to take the $42.00 pill before you get sick.Next challenge, which lap top do we get her. I have looked and every time I am ready to click, I decide I am not smart enough to determine what we need.We are off to get our counts. Hematocrit, platelet, WBC and the all important ANC and of course #6 asparagus shot. Three more to go. Two more while awake. She hates these shots. The ANC has to be over 500 for school to be allowed. If not she will be at home with Grandmother. One day at a time. I wish I could make plans but then I plan to not make plans and I think that is a plan.

Week One and September 1, 2006, Boy have we come a long way.

She has only said "Mom, I am a Holy Names Girl" 20 times. She is so excited to be in school and to have started her career in high school. She comes home every day with ideas of how to spend her extra time.

Mom do you think I should be an Ambassador. I would be one of the girls that opens the doors and talks to people so they feel comfortable.

Mom should I join the Hispanic Club. I don't really know that they do but maybe I would meet some kids that half and half like me.

Mom should I be a tutor. I could help little kids learn more.

Mom......... All these choices and all these decisions. I am more focused on "Will I be able to get the laundry done? and have the slow leak in the tire fixed, and pick out baseboard for the new floor? and.............

What I really love is that Holy Names has pushed Leukemia to the back ground. Now Denim day rules our life and not Methotrexate Monday. It still creeps in every now and then when I have to make a special trip to the hospital or I hear worry in my parents voice because my daughters numbers are not as low as they should be. I love that high school has eliminated those nasty, loud, rude and smelly boys from her life. She is convinced only William ever bathed.

I will learn to love the alarm when it goes off at 5:00 a.m. and I HAVE to get up. I will learn to always make my coffee before I go to bed. I will learn that Tucker wants to play and play hard by 6:00, and what is my problem. I will learn to love watching the streaks of light come through the windows. I will learn to re-connect to quiet morning times before the car pool begins.

I already love that we are 12 days away from the 2nd year of REMISSION with no relapse to spoil it all. I already love that we will be done by the end of the year. I love that we had a fight this morning before school. I love that we have a quiet week-end coming up. I love that she is so happy right now.

But most of all I love that prayers are answered and the answer is yes. We have been on a two year journey and are weary. It tells you something if we think starting high school is a relaxing endeavourer. But it has been.

Finally Week One of a good thing.