Saturday, March 28, 2009

I cried myself to sleep last night

I cried myself to sleep last night --
And not because of sorrow,
But of joy --
For my boy
Would be baptized on the morrow.

There was a time when being here today seemed like a long shot. Even last night I felt like King Stefan in Sleeping Beauty, like we should still be burning spinning wheels or something.

But the day came, and I was able to watch my son be baptized and confirmed at the hand of my husband. I was even able to sing a solo during the program, despite being half-brained and half-deaf.

We were surrounded by family members--including my parents and parents-in-law, and all of my brothers and their families--and I didn't have to be lying in a box to bring them here!

It was a moment made possible by the grace of a loving God (and sponsored in part by Kleenex).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Gr-EIGHT Stuff

Waiting for the birthday boy to wake up for the family breakfast party:

Jacob the gr-EIGHT!

The Aztec pyramid cake. Just take four yellow cake mixes and bake them in various sizes of square pans, then stack and top them with tons of homemade chocolate frosting, some cookies and Red Vines, candy letters, and a doughnut hole "boulder" chasing a Lego Indiana Jones figure.

Our hero, Indiana Jake:

I couldn't resist making monkey brain jello to go along with the pizza, snake eyes (red and green grapes), spider sacs (olives), beetle wings (potato chips), fried caterpillars (Cheetos), licorice whips, and 7-Up (because he's eight, so SEVEN is UP!):

Some of our birthday crusaders after finding their name in hieroglyphics, playing a geography game, doing the blindfolded snake pit walk, playing "snake hot potato", targeting plastic bugs with blow darts (bendable straws and Q-tips), making crayon rubbing art, eating lots of gross-sounding food, and finding a treasure chest filled with candy and prizes. (And bestowing lots of nice presents on Indiana Jake.)

It was fun -- I had half a mind to do this, and so I did!

Friday, March 13, 2009


I was so excited about today, that I forgot to do an "...and...Thirty-NINE" post. Yesterday marks thirty-nine months of survival. But more importantly, today marks my son's eighth birthday, and I am HERE!

When I was diagnosed, Jake was not yet five years old. I wondered if I'd live long enough for him to remember me. Surviving to his eighth birthday seemed like a long shot. But most miracles seem that way.

Not only am I here, but I am well enough to pull off another birthday party. We had a family breakfast party this morning and will continue the festivities after school. And tomorrow we will have sixteen children in the house for "Indiana Jake and the Gr-EIGHT Birthday Crusade". We have foam fedora hats and "blow darts" (aka straws and Q-tips) and rubber snakes and a treasure chest and more strewn in our living room, waiting to be organized for tomorrow's event. A Mayan pyramid cake and some monkey brain Jello molds are waiting to be created in the kitchen.

It's Friday the 13th, and I've never felt luckier!!

Friday, March 06, 2009

You know you have cancer when... think going deaf would be a blessing.

I went to the ENT today. I thought I had ruptured my right eardrum a couple of weeks ago, and have had both pain and hearing loss, so I finally went to get things checked out.

The doctor extracted even more crystallized wax and dead skin from my ear canal, which are the continuing effects of radiation from three years ago. (I had a similar experience with this last year.) The good news was that my eardrum appeared to be intact. However, the doctor noticed that my eardrum has a large retraction pocket, which is the result of continuing radiation damage to the eustacian tube.

Testing verified that my nerves are okay, but my eardrum is not functioning properly, and I have significant hearing loss in my right ear as a result.

My favorite part of the visit was when the doctor explained that the full effects of radiation damage will take several years to manifest, and he suggested a course of monitoring over the next four or five years. He explained some possible interventions to relieve discomfort, but nothing that would restore my hearing or prevent further deterioration in the long term. (Long term! I like thinking long term!)

In other words, I'm not completely deaf (yet) in my right ear. But if I'm lucky to live long enough, I may become so.

Only cancer can make a musician actually look forward to the day when she loses her ear.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Kind of fun

Whenever I go to my karate lesson I notice the inspirational quote that my sensei puts on the wall.

This week's was definitely blog-worthy. It's a quote from Walt Disney:

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

Sometimes the "impossible" is just something that isn't expected. Sometimes it merely requires some extra imagination, effort, or a willingness to step outside of our comfort zone, combined perhaps with a little luck. Sometimes the "impossible" just takes a little faith.

Surviving glioblastoma for more than three years is hardly impossible. Statistics (which are not fun) suggested it would be a long shot. But I'm not the only one who has been able to do it. And I can look back on moments of imagination, effort, and stepping outside my comfort zone. I can look back on moments where my faith was tested and strengthened.

Cancer isn't fun. But over the past three years there have been moments of celebration each time a milestone is reached. Moments of gratitude at the dawning of each new day. Moments when the routine became cherished. Moments when relationships became more dear and love was expressed more frequently. Moments when I finally dusted off old goals (like writing a book and working toward a black belt) and put some action toward them. Moments when I could find a reason to laugh and make the terrible more bearable.

If life were Disney World, I doubt I would have picked the ride that I'm on. But since I'm on it, I'm grateful that this ride has moments that are kind of fun!