Sunday, December 31, 2017

Worst Case Scenario

Back when I first starting having pain in the upper outer quadrant of my left breast, I figured, "It can't possibly cancer."

I mean, that would be the worst case scenario, right?

Then, when the doctor felt the thickening and sent me for an ultrasound I still thought there was no way it was cancer. Other people get cancer, but not me and those closest to me.

The day of the ultrasound, they found the mass. They did a biopsy that day. Still, it couldn't be cancer. I mean, I have two kids who need me. I have parents who would be devastated to lose me. Yes, I'm just like every other woman in the world who has loved ones but still, it couldn't be cancer. Heck, even the doctor who talked to me on the phone the day of the ultrasound and biopsy told me the chances of it being cancer were very small.

The weekend after the ultrasound/biopsy, I told my mom often that the chances of my mass being cancer were very small. I was just sure it was nothing.

It was something. When I saw that I had a missed call from my doctor on Sunday afternoon, I knew. I mean...doctors don't call on a Sunday with good news. I had time to brace myself for the news. The worst case scenario news.

Except...even though it's triple negative cancer, it wasn't the worst case scenario. Sure, cancer is a hard word to hear but being told it's stage 1 helps. The mass was small, we'd caught it early.

Every step of the way from the day of diagnosis until now has worked out in a 'best-case-scenario' kind of way.

When I met with the oncologist and we discussed the plan of action for my treatment, he told me, "This chemo will make you lose your hair."


I was okay with that. I told myself my hair was a small price to pay to buy decades of life and health with my family.

But deep down, the thought of being bald bothered me. Wouldn't it bother most people?

And get this...not all chemotherapy drugs make you lose your hair. Why did I have to have one of them that practically guarantees it? I didn't lament this long but I confess that I did think about it more than I wanted to.

But you know what? The worst case scenario of losing my hair hasn't been so bad. Now that it's gone, it's just...not a big deal. I look at myself every single day and it's not a big deal. It's just hair. It will probably grow back.

I'm living through a couple of worst case scenarios here. What I take away from that sentence is that I'm living. I'm here. I'm fighting for years with my girls, with my husband, who has been a champion caregiver. I'm getting years with my parents and my brothers. I'm alive and I'm still fighting. Cancer hasn't beaten me physically and baldness hasn't beaten me emotionally.

It's amazing when the worst case scenarios come true and you realize that they aren't nearly as scary as you thought they would be. You just keep on getting up each day and living your life. The worry before the diagnosis was worse than living day to day with the diagnosis.

Maybe I can take that forward with me into 2018. I'm definitely going to try.

Here I am...all bald and handling it just fine:

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Figuring Things Out

I'm not sure how to do this. I mean, I've worked my entire life. I've had a job since I was sixteen, with a couple of months here and there where I didn't. So this is new. It helps that right now, it's Christmas break and the girls are home. But when they go back to school...things will be weird.

I have so much I want to do around the house, things that have been on the backburner basically since we moved in over seven years ago. Rooms need to be organized, closets need to be cleaned out.

And yet, there's still weekly chemo that I'll need to work around. So far my biggest complaint about this current chemo is the dry, red eyes I'm experiencing. I hope that's normal. Who knows? I guess I can ask the nurses when I go back on Wednesday.

But who am I if I'm not working? If I'm not a HR representative...who am I?

I'm Lyss's and Liv's mom. I'm Tom's wife. I'm Evelyn's daughter and Jason's and Mitchell's sister. But who am I besides those things?

I guess now is the time to figure that out. Am I the person who goes back to bed after the girls are on the bus? Will I stay up and actually accomplish things on a daily basis?

I admit to being inherently lazy. I do like my sleep. And bonus! I have the excuse of chemo for wanting needing more sleep. So I guess we'll see how much I use the chemo excuse now that I'm not working and can't use that as my reason for wanting a nap after lunch on a day when I rolled out of bed at 9am.

All I really know is that 2018 better bring nothing but awesomeness.

2017 has kind of sucked, if you want the truth. We'll be happy to say good riddance to 2017 and ring in 2018. 2018 is going to be the year for figuring it all out.

Thursday, December 21, 2017


I started the new chemo on Tuesday. There were lots of dire warnings about this chemo. It's Taxol. The nurses went on and on about allergic reactions. They talked about how they'd treat any reactions. They talked about how important it was to do the first treatment in Fort Wayne where there is plenty of staff to watch over me while the chemo was being administered because of the risk of a reaction.

Before they even started the actual chemo I was given three different meds that were supposed to stop any potential reactions before they started. The three medicines were a steroid, Benedryl, and Pepsid. All of these were given through my port.

Can I just say right here that getting Benedryl intravenously makes it take affect almost immediately. I could feel my mouth drying up, my speech started slur and the sleepiness kicked in before I even really realized it.

But, on the bright side, I didn't have any of the potential allergic reactions. I 'behaved' just as the nurses told me to.

As I dozed while the chemo was dripping into my port, I heard a volunteer a few chairs down from me. She was offering someone a cupcake.

I will confess right here that the offer of a cupcake woke me right up. It stopped that Benedryl drowsiness right in its tracks.

Who knew a cupcake could have such power?

By the way...that was a delicious cupcake.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

End of an Era

Yesterday I finished up a 17 year run at my job. The plant where I worked is closing next Friday for good. Because of this, I decided to take long-term disability starting today.

Non-coincidentally, I start weekly chemo today. So there's that.

I enjoyed my work. I was lucky enough to work with people who were mostly kind, mostly hard-working. Sure, there were bumps in the road over the seventeen years but they were good years.

And now...I start my time off. I start my journey toward getting well, getting healthy, being strong for my family and for myself.

Here's to the new chapter.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Sudden Plans

As with most high school kids, Alyssa’s social life seems to have developed a life of its own lately. Which is great, right?

But wait. Alyssa also has a mom who is going through chemo and doesn’t always feel well and she has a dad, who, while wonderful and helpful and awesome before 7pm, tends to pass out on the couch by 7:10pm.

One of Lyss’s new friends is a junior. A junior who drives. Yay!


Sure, great. New friend can take Lyss to the required basketball games at which the band must play and bust out the pep.

The problem comes when Alyssa’s mom wants to go to bed at 9:30 on a Friday night after she’s had chemo the previous Tuesday. And yet, she actually can’t because Alyssa is not home yet from the basketball game that started at 7:00pm and should have probably ended at 8:30 at the latest. And Alyssa is not answering her phone. Why does she even have a phone if she doesn’t answer the damned thing?

Alyssa’s mom doesn’t feel like she can go to bed until she knows where Alyssa is and when Alyssa will be home. I mean, Alyssa is still only fourteen even if she does have friends who have driver’s license and CARS for Pete Sakes!

When Alyssa finally texts her mom to say that two of her friends are ‘bored’ and want to hang out, her mom is annoyed. But she responds with, “Where? You need to call me.”

Alyssa finally calls her mom fifteen minutes later and they talk. The friends want to hang out at a friend’s house in town. The parents are home and are okay with these last-minute plans.

Alyssa’s mom wants to know when Lyss will be home. Lyss doesn’t know.

Her mom decides for her. “You can hang out until eleven. Then you need to be home. I’m tired and you’re fourteen.”

Alyssa, smart girl that she is, agrees to be home at 11:00.

Mom settles in, all achy and yuck, to wait until 11:00 to go to bed. She’s not thrilled about it but vaguely remembers being a teenager about a million years ago and wants her daughter to enjoy this time of her life.

But there will be a conversation when the teenager gets home that evening. Or maybe it will wait until morning when Mom feels a little better and is rested.

The conversation, when it happens, goes well and Alyssa understands. She gets why her mom needs to know where she is and needs some sort of idea of when she’ll be home. She remembers that she’s fourteen (sure, she’ll be fifteen in a month but still…)

Then…THEN!!! Sunday evening rolls around.

It’s 7:20. Alyssa asks if Funniest Home Videos is on that night.

I (I know I’m changing from third person to first person when referring to myself…I don’t care.) pause as I’m washing dishes to tell her that yes, it’s on right that very minute.

“What?” she exclaims. “I thought it started at 8:00.”

“It has been starting at 8:00 but tonight it went back to a start time of 7:00.”

“Why?” she demands to know, like I’m privy to the scheduling reasons of ABC.

I shrug and wash a plate.

She then said, rather hesitantly, “Well, I kind of wanted to know if Nina could come over and watch Funniest Home Videos.”

“Tonight?” I asked.

See, let me pause here in this narrative and mentioned that I consider myself an outgoing introvert. I can be social and friendly but I get absolutely no energy from other people. Other people, even my own beautiful, loving family, suck my energy dry and I NEED alone time to re-energize. So having people over saps me.

But I do realize that teenagers thrive on friends and spending time with said friends. And so…

Lyss sort of hung her head and appeared to almost wish she hadn’t asked the question but she didn’t take the question back. She nodded and waited for my answer.

I mentioned the sudden plans to Tom. He started to get loud. I told him that I thought we should allow it that night but going forward, Alyssa needed (she was in earshot, listening to this entire conversation) to give us more than twenty minutes’ notice if/when friends were coming over.

I informed her, as I said, she was RIGHT THERE, that we’d allow the visit from Nina that night but going forward, if she asked for such a thing in the future, the answer would be no. If she wants to have company, she needs to give us at least a few hours’ notice, preferably making such plans a day in advance if possible.

I know that teenagers are notorious for deciding at 6pm that they’re bored and deciding to hang with friends at 6:30 that same night.

But I am no longer a teenager and I don’t want to deal with such sudden plans. I don’t feel good enough these days to put up with those kinds of shenanigans.

And I will use the “You know, ordinarily it wouldn’t be a big deal but…chemo!” excuse with much liberty these days. I have to deal with all the side effects of chemo, I should get at least the smallest benefits (other than the, hopefully, never having cancer BIG main effect of it…)

Anyway, all this to say that teenagers and their sudden changes of plans might lead me straight to a padded cell yet.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Another Thing Olivia Said

I have some “Christmas” earrings that are penguins with red scarves.

I also have a scarf that has a gray background with some penguins in green and red sweaters and other penguins with green and red scarves around their necks and ice skates on their little webbed feet.

Olivia asked me last weekend, “So what, exactly, makes penguins Christmasy?”

The snark is strong with this one.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Some Truths

Now that the last BIG chemo is over, I feel like I can look back and make a decent report on how it went.

First of all, I guess I should say it wasn’t as horrible as I’d anticipated when I thought about CHEMO before it started. I mean, it wasn’t a dance in the rain but there was no puke and very little diarrhea, so there’s that.

But it wasn’t easy.

The first day of chemo is always the easiest. I mean, sitting there with a needle in your chest isn’t fun but there are no feelings of illness or nausea. No, that comes a couple of days later.

The day after chemo isn’t bad. It’s not necessarily good but mostly I just felt like I was coming down with something. Which I guess I sort of was, namely, the Chemo Aches.

I did wake up sweaty the night after chemo and that was always gross.

By the third day after chemo, though, life is hard. I ached from top to bottom. My very skin ached. I mostly just needed to be left alone to sleep. Nothing else helped.

The fourth day, ugh. The intestinal issues kicked in. It wasn’t so much diarrhea, though, which is what I feared. Stop reading here if you don’t want to read about poop talk. It’s okay. Really. But I’m all about being truthful about what this chemo trip has been like.

So yes, on the Fourth day after chemo (Saturdays for me) I would wake up and NOT have my usual morning poop. When I’m not having poison pumped into my very veins, I am a VERY regular pooper. But come the Saturday after chemo and my scheduled is MESSED UP. And I feel terrible all day until I finally do poop, which often took several tries and much straining on the stupid toilet. And stupid me, I never just stayed home and waited it out. No, I took the girls to town, had lunch, went to Walmart to buy groceries. So I found myself in the bathroom at Walmart on several Saturdays after chemo, straining to poop, wishing I could JUST poop because I would feel SO MUCH better once I’d pooped just once. It was as if that first poop on those Saturdays was stopping up the entire system and once it was out of the way, things were on their way to being back to normal. Not quite normal yet but on the way.

We are now over a week out from chemo and things are better. I have more energy. I feel pretty good.

But there are still remnants from chemo.

For one, my pee smells horrible. I figure this is just my bodies way of eliminated the poison of chemo and so of course it stinks. It’s just nasty.

I have a weird taste in my mouth still. Not metallic so much as just yuck. Gum helps and I drink a lot of water, which leads to more stinky pee.

My skin is dry but not extraordinarily dry. I mean, it could just be that it’s winter in the Midwest more so than having anything to do with chemo.

So that’s it. That my report on how chemo went for me. At least how the first four chemo infusions went, which were a combination of Adriamycin and Cytoxan. I was also given Neulasta, a weird patch thingy that injects medicine into your arm 24 hours after a chemotherapy infusion. It’s supposed to boost my immune system. I think it also made me feel a little crappy. But who really knows?

Next up…weekly chemo infusions in which the medicine is Taxol. I’ve been assured by all the of the chemo nurses I’ve encountered so far that taxol is not nearly as physically hard on a body at the Adriamycin and Cytoxan cocktail I’ve endured the past nine weeks.

We’ll see and you can rest assured I’ll be here to report on it as we make our way through the next twelve weeks.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Winter Concert

My mom and I attended Alyssa’s high school band and choir concert on Sunday.

Olivia and Tom stayed home because Liv had a really annoying cough and we decided it would be better for everyone sitting around us to not have to deal with her weird, dry hacking.

So my mom and I got to enjoy the concert while Tom and Livie got to enjoy being home in their jammies, watching football (Liv was in her pajamas, Tom was watching football.)

While of course I thought the Jr. High was great, it amazes me how much difference a few years makes when it comes to performing. Alyssa is a freshman this year and her high school choir and band are awesome. I was blown away by the voices I heard and the musical talent of the band members.

When it was over, I told Alyssa that I could hear her voice during the choir’s performance.

She asked, “Is that a good thing?”

Oh my goodness, yes!! She has such a beautiful soprano voice. It’s bright and clear and the tone is so nice. She’s come so, so far and she’s only a freshman.

I told my mom after the concert, “I watch her up there and I marvel that she’s mine.”

My mom nodded, understanding exactly what I was saying.

I am so lucky that I get to watch three more years of this kind of thing.

And there’s more awesomeness to come. Next week, Lyss is auditioning for the school’s spring musical. How fun is that?

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Once a Smartass...

In the car last Saturday afternoon, Olivia was on a roll of pushing Alyssa’s buttons.

I mean, of course she was. A little sister’s most amazing talent is knowing exactly how to irritate her big sister.

Olivia was singing one of the songs from the school program she performed in on Friday. Not that she sang during the actual performance. OMG, no! That would never, EVER happen.

But boy did she sing on Saturday. She was having a blast; mostly because it was driving her sister crazy.

Alyssa finally lamented, “Please stop singing that song! It’s making me crazy.”

Olivia paused singing just long enough to suggest, “Maybe it will be your funeral song.”

Monday, December 11, 2017

What's Best for Her

Last Friday was Grandparents/Friends day at Olivia’s school. As a fourth grader, this is the last time she’ll take part in a program like this.

My mom attended and spent time with Olivia. After the program, my mom and Liv talked and Olivia told her Gram that she was so scared on the top level of the risers that her legs were shaking.

The teachers did notice Olivia’s discomfort and let her move to the floor beside the risers but…this is not the first time Olivia’s been miserable during a school program. I mean, hello, she’s been forced to participate in such programs for, let’s see, seven freaking years.

So after the program, my mom told me and Tom that she didn’t think we should force Olivia to relive that program on Tuesday, which is when the kids are performing it for their parents and siblings. Grandparents/Friends Day is basically the schools way of breaking up the audience into two shows so they can fit everyone into the gym.

Tom and I talked about it, both with and without Olivia and we decided I’d email her teachers today and let them know Liv won’t be there tomorrow night.

But before I could send that email today, yesterday, I attended Alyssa’s high school band and choir concert (it deserves its own post) and I was able to speak to Mrs. F. She teaches both Jr. High and high school choir along with elementary music. She is the one who put together the entire program the elementary school is putting on tomorrow night.

I shared Olivia’s feelings about the program with her. “I was a totem pole,” Olivia declared somewhat stoically last Friday evening. I reminded her of years’ past when Olivia simply could not bring herself to even pretend to sing.

Mrs. F told me, “I support whatever you think is best for Olivia. I wish she’d show me her feisty personality that I know is in there but I agree that if she’s miserable, she should just stay home. It won’t affect her grade.”

So that’s what we’re doing. While the rest of the elementary is singing Elfie Selfie and dancing their little hearts out, Olivia will be at home, taking a bath, relaxing, enjoying a snack and basking in the joy of a long winter’s night.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Last Time

I keep telling myself that this is the last time I’ll have to feel like this. Since this past Tuesday was the last BIG chemo infusion, I won’t have to feel this achy, icky, crappy way again. Right?

Except, we all know that cancer can come back. I mean, we’re doing all we can to reduce the chance of that but it’s a definite possibility. And if it does, I’ll do this all over again.

But for now, I’m going with, Tuesday was my last big chemo. I feel horrible today but for now, we’re going to believe that this is the last time I will feel like this because of chemo.

According to my chemo nurses, the next infusions I’ll be getting won’t be nearly as difficult. They’re once a week for twelve weeks but they don’t induce the crap feelings that I have right now.

I’m holding on to that. I have to.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Deer

So yes, I hit a deer on the way home from Gram’s house after Thanksgiving dinner. We live three miles from my mom’s house. I was half way home. Which means I was a mile and a half from my mom’s and a mile and a half home. That just feels ridiculous

We finally got an estimate from the insurance company on how much damage was done to my car.

Before I say how much it will cost to fix the car, I would like to point out that I was going maybe 40 miles an hour. Yeah, not all that freaking fast.

That damn deer came out of nowhere and managed to do $8200 worth of damaged to my car. The deer flipped around in the air, hit the ground and then…she got up and ran away!!

Thankfully, neither of the girls or I was hurt. It just crumpled up the hood of my car, damaged the bumper and passenger side headlight. The car is leaking some kind of fluid and the driver’s side seatbelt won’t retract, which the insurance adjuster just said proves I was wearing it. So I guess that’s good.

I’d felt pretty awful while at my mom’s for dinner. I managed to eat the awesome roasted vegetables and, of course, a piece of cherry pie but then I made my way to my mom’s bedroom where I laid on the floor and dozed. Tom came in at one point to check on me and found me on the floor. He asked if that was more comfortable than the bed.

I told him it absolutely was, then I dozed again.

When I finally pulled my sickly carcass off the floor, the girls and I headed home and wham, we hit the deer.

It is amazing what a jolt of adrenalin can do for one’s over feelings of health. I felt better for hours after hitting that damned deer. I hope she was bruised and sore the next day.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Tree Is Up, the Tree Is Up, You Guys...THE TREE IS UP!

I knew this past weekend was our best chance to get the tree up and decorated before the dullness of chemo descends tomorrow.

Last year, I did most of the decorating. For some reason, neither Lyss nor Liv was all that into putting ornaments on the tree.

This year, though, Olivia was quite the helper. And, best yet, she didn’t put three ornaments per branch. She’s growing up!! Awww….

Tom, because it’s his schtick, lamented the fact that I’d even bothered with the tree. He likes to be all Grinchy/Scroogy and then I have to remind him that we have kids and so he’s not allowed to be anti-Christmas.

Friday night, before I even opened the box stores the tree, I moved the furniture in the living room. We’d decided to put the tree in the corner by the front window rather than directly in front of the window this year. But that meant the recliner needed to move, which meant the couch, which is a U-shaped sectional, also needed to be moved.

I ended up spinning the couch, curve of the U was against the tree/window side of the room and moved the recliner so it was now on the left side of the entertainment center. It makes the room kind of cozy. If nothing else, change is always kind of interesting.

We didn’t deck out our entire house this year. It felt like a bit much to take on. But having the tree up, and the Nativity all placed just right by Liv, it makes our house feel good, like we’re ready for this season of love and giving and joy and peace.

That’s something that even chemo can’t take away. Right?

Anyway, here's a blurry picture of two girls and a Christmas tree:

Friday, December 1, 2017

Little Joys

While there is a lot of pain and indignities that go along with being a chemo patient, there are also a lot of joys, pleasures that come even during the pain and frustration.

-Sweet eleven year olds who don’t care if you’re sick, they just want their mom.

-Fourteen year olds who still want you with them even though you’re bald and kind of gross.

-Husbands who will rub your back for hours just to soothe the aches.

-Movies with my mom and Lyss, even when you don’t feel good.

-Friends who are amazing and sweet and kind and never forget to check in.

-A mom who is always there, always supportive, always understanding even though she’s got enough going on in her own life.

-An understanding employer who makes it easy for me to come and go as appointments are made and kept.



-Healing incisions that lead to more and better sleep.

-Christmas socks. It’s December 1st, I’m now allowed to wear Christmas socks for the rest of the year. Wheee!!

Like I said, it’s the little things that bring joy that really get use through the little things that cause angst/frustration. We will get through it because there’s no other choice.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Little Indignities

Even when I’m feeling fine (ish) these days, there are still the little indignities that come with cancer and chemo that add up to feel like A BIG THING instead of a lot of little things.

-Waking up to pee four times a night.

-Still can’t sleep comfortably on either side because – incision on left, port on right.

-Have to wear a hat to sleep because my scalp/hair rubs weirdly on my pillow.

-Waking up in a drenching sweat because of the above hat/chemo sweats.

-Still sleeping in a bra, almost three months after surgery.

-Not being able to bathe. Sure, I shower everyday but there’s something about a long soak in a hot bath that makes me feel so good and I haven’t been able to do that in almost three months thanks to the open wound my incision became.

-Still having to shave my stupid legs even though I have no hair on the top of my head. How is that fair and just?

-The weird film/taste in my mouth that is a near constant state. It’s not metallic like some people told me it would be but I can’t seem to drink enough water(see having to get up four times a night to pee) or brush my teeth often enough to get rid of it.

So many little things. But I know they'll be worth enduring. Every single day is a day closer to when this is all over and I'm taking steps to leaving it all behind me, getting well, feeling well, being well.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

What Gave It Away?

While at WalMart last week, during one my hardest days after chemo yet, the girls and I were waiting on a bench for my mom to be ready to take us home. I’d feel icky enough to be not want to drive myself to town that day.

Yes, that should have been the sign that I should have just stayed home. I know. Live and learn.

After a bit, I decided to use the bathroom, leaving Lyss and Liv on the bench watching our cartful of groceries.

As I started to enter the bathroom, I was stopped by a woman who was waiting outside the door for a friend.

She said, “Excuse me, ma’am, but are you a cancer survivor?”

I said, “Well, right now I’m a fighter, but I plan to be a survivor.”

She fist bumped me and told me she’d fought cancer five times. FIVE TIMES! Holy shit. Five freaking times. She explained that her first fight was with thyroid cancer, then she fought breast cancer four times.

She said her last fight ended seven years ago and she’s currently cancer free.

You go, Warrior Woman.

I told her I’d just had chemo three days prior which is why I looked so terrible.

She looked me in the eyes and said, “You look beautiful. You’re going to beat this and come out stronger.”

And then she let me go to the bathroom where I tried to poop for the seven hundredth time that day. (It didn’t work, but the third time I went in to try did so…aren’t you glad you read through this entire post?)

But honestly, other than my hat and chemo pallor, I wonder what gave me away as a cancer/chemo patient. As of this moment, I still have my eyebrows and eyelashes. I still have more weight on my bones than is necessary or even recommended.

Maybe once you go through this you just know. You recognize fellow members of the club you never wanted to join. Maybe.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Chemo Diaries - Chemo #3

Ahh, the cumulative effects of chemotherapy. So expected and yet still so painful.

And this time, there was blood. Ugh! But it was only a little and only on Friday and Saturday. Still…ewww.

Anyway. This chemo session was a little different because Tom took me. I know! He got to be my driver. We arrived, I got hooked up and he stuck around a bit before running out to Aldi (his favorite store EVER) and I think maybe Walmart (his least favorite store EVER.)

He was back before I was done, so he sat down and watched as my nurse finished up the process.

This was the first time she had trouble with my port. She first time she accessed it, there was no flow so she tried a new needle and that did the trick. Thank goodness for Lidocaine and its numbing effects, though I did feel the second access. Not pain so much as…pressure? Yeah, that’s it.

I woke up that Tuesday night in the usual sweat. Ick. I hate waking up sweaty at 1am. It’s just so gross.

But then again, there is nothing about chemo that isn’t gross. The feelings of just being sick, being out of it, of not being in control of anything. Yep, gross.

Wednesday, I got through most of work. Go me. I know, I say that a lot but damn it, I’m a freaking warrior here. My chemo nurse says so.

Thursday Alyssa and I headed to see Justice League. Wonder Woman is so awesome. I didn’t feel too bad, just run down. Not so much that I couldn’t drive to and from the movie and eat way too much popcorn and drink a frozen Coke but just kind of ick.

Did I mention that Olivia started coming down with a cold on the Sunday before chemo? No? Well, she did.

By Thursday evening I wasn’t just suffering from the effects of chemo, I was also stuffy from catching Liv’s cold. Yay elementary school!!

Friday was so hard. I felt pretty awful all day

It started with, you guessed it, the poop problem.

Let’s remember that my biggest fear going into chemo was diarrhea. And let me say here, I have not yet experienced full-on diarrhea, much to my relief. However, chemo is messing up my natural ‘rhythm’ of three or four BMs a day. I know, yuck, but this is all about full disclosure so there you go.

I didn’t poo first thing in the morning on Friday as I do most mornings. So I felt ‘off’ all day.

I did manage to drag myself and the girls to town to buy groceries and have lunch. I ate half the chicken I’d ordered at Dairy Queen and the whole caramel sundae (because, duh) but once we got to Walmart, I started feeling worse and worse. We powered through and made it home with time to rest.

But back to the poop situation, because that’s why we’re all here, right? For the when the shit hits the fan. When I did finally poo much later in the day, like after 6pm, it was awful. This is where the blood came in.

I googled, “is it normal to poop blood while on chemo?”

Apparently, yes, it’s normal; and yet, so very disconcerting and disgusting. Shudder.

I felt better for a couple of hours on Saturday.
I got up, made the green bean casserole we were taking to my mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Sat through dinner and ate some vegetables. Then I made my way to her back bedroom where I laid on the floor and just…suffered. Is that a little melodramatic? Maybe but that’s kind of what I did. I didn’t actually sleep, I just drifted, feeling awful and hoping tomorrow would be better.

I roused myself enough to drive the girls the three miles home. At the halfway point between my mom’s house and ours, I hit a deer. The damn deer got up and ran away. My car was drivable enough to get us home, an hour after hitting the deer, after Tom and an office with the county sheriff’s department did their work.

It’s amazing what a shot of adrenaline can do for chemo sluggishness.

There was a little more blood that night when I finally had another poop but not as much as the day before and by Sunday, there was no blood at all.

I made it through an eight hour day at work on Monday and here we are, a week out and I’m feeling…okay. Not awesome but not horrible either.

My incision continues to heal. We’re at the point where Tom no longer even tries to stuff gauze into the opening. It’s barely open. There’s a tiny bit of seepage on the cause I lay on top of the incision but not enough to cause concern. I don’t see the surgeon again until December 18, at which point I fully expect him to do declare it closed. I hope.

So yeah, not so much diarrhea but just enough blood to be able to say I’m still excelling at being disgusting. Yah chemo!

One more big one and then, two weeks after that, we start the weekly sessions. I’ll admit it…I’m scared. Just a little but still…scared.

Monday, November 27, 2017


My baby is eleven today. She’s eleven.

How is eleven treating Olivia?

Eleven is opinionated, strong-willed, argumentative, and still very snuggly. Eleven still wants back scratches at night but will screech at you at 6:30am if the sheets on her bed are messed up.

Eleven loves Barbies and YouTube videos about Barbie. She eats like an adult (loves a variety of food that does not include chicken nuggets) but still would prefer it if someone would sit next to her and spoon the food into her mouth, thank you very much. All this feeding of oneself is very tiresome.

At eleven, Olivia dresses herself and has very strong opinions on what she’s wearing each day. She CAN tie her own shoes but she very much prefers not to. She still needs washing her hair but can bathe on her own for the most part. She pushes her sister’s buttons just to see the sparks fly.

She argues with her dad because she can and he eggs her on.

I’m still her favorite person.

Eleven is going to be awesome.

Though I will confess to having said the following sentence to her, on her last day as a ten year old, “Olivia, stop talking to me. I’m sleeping.”

Yes…even at eleven, sleep can be a challenge. But life would be boring without challenges, right?

Bring on ELEVEN!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Stress Levels

My chemo nurse sat down next to me yesterday with a notepad and a pen. The other nurse had already taken my weight and my blood pressure. They were happy with both. Go me for the whole maintaining my weight and keeping my pressure at an acceptable level (110/70).

So the chemo nurse with her pad and pen asked me about my stress levels. The first question was about my stress level out of a scale of 1 to 10, with the one being the lowest and the ten being the highest, at that moment.

I thought about it and said, “One?” I mean, I was about to have a chemo infusion. I knew what was coming so I was fine with all that. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the whole thing but yeah, I also wasn’t stressed over it.

She then asked me about my stress level at home.

“Zero?” I said. I put the question mark at the end of the answer because I wasn’t’ sure I was even allowed to give a zero as an answer.

She looked over at Tom to see if I was lying about my stress level at home.

He shrugged.

I said, “Well, if I’m doing homework with our fourth grader, then my stress level goes to a four but other than that, he’s doing everything around the house, so I’m pretty stress-free.”

She said, “Everything?”

I replied, “He does all the laundry, all the cooking, he wrangles our girls out the door each morning for the bus, he makes sure I’m getting enough to eat, enough rest. Yeah, everything; I mean, except the fourth grader’s homework because she can be pill and I have more patience with her even while on chemo than he does. Oh, and I also make her bed because she’s declared that I do it better than her dad does.”

The nurse made a note (of what, I have no idea) and then said to Tom, “You’re spoiling her. Keep up the good work.”


He nodded and said he planned to. Then he amended, “I do make her drive herself to work.”

I mean, he didn’t want the nurse to think he was a saint or something.

I do believe we have a keeper. I just hope I deserve him.

I also made sure to let her know that when I’m at work, my stress levels are a little higher (a four maybe?) because I’m, well, working and helping people who are losing their jobs at the end of the year and I go in each day knowing I am also losing my job at the end of the year. So there’s that.

Friday, November 17, 2017


We’re off to Chicago today. I get to room with two of the nicest women. I met these women through Alyssa. They’re the moms of two of her best friends. But honestly, if I’d met them in any other way, I can totally see us being friends even without having daughters who appear to adore each other.

I also get to spend some awesome time with my girl. I feel so incredibly lucky that she still wants me around. She said that she and her group of friends, the ones she’s rooming with, were discussing who they wanted to be their chaperone and they all declared they wanted me.


She told me recently that her friends Amelia and Sabrina were arguing over which one of them was more like me. Ha! I laughed and said, they want to be like a middle-aged mom? She said they enjoy my snark and my humor and both think they’re more like me than the other.

Alyssa declared, “But since you’re my actual mom, I think I’m the one who is more like you.”

How freaking adorable is that? I mean seriously?

Her other friend, Tessa, follows me on Instagram and Alyssa said that the few times I’ve posted a picture of me after chemo, Tessa will get a little teary-eyed and say, “It just makes me so sad because she doesn’t deserve this.”

I’m getting a little weepy here myself.

Alyssa has some amazing friends and I’m so incredibly grateful. High school can be a tough time in one’s life and I’m so glad she has an great team of friends who are so supportive of each other. Though, obviously, they’re also just a little competitive, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, unless they’re competing to be more like me because, yeah, maybe not do that, kiddos?

Not because I’m not an awesome 47 year old wife and mom and human being but because, yeah, they’re all 14/15 year old girls who need to maybe not aspire to be me right at this point in their lives. They’re funny, though and I’m definitely flattered that they think I’m awesome enough to want to be like me.

And lest anyone worry about Olivia while Alyssa and I are galavanting our way through Chicago for the next couple of days, Liv is getting to spend some quality one on one time with her very favorite Gram. I’ve got her mostly packed for her night and day with Gram and she’s already planning the things she’s going to take with her. She’s also asked me at least ten times if her dad is taking her to Gram’s house or if Gram is coming to our house to get her. I promised I’d call Gram and ask her that very question at some point. I better get on that.

This means Tom gets about 40 hours of peace and quiet with maybe about fifteen minutes of Liv time just to keep him on his toes. I’m pretty sure he’s very much looking forward to having an empty house all to himself. Not that I blame him.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

An Eleventh Birthday

Olivia will be eleven on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

This Sunday, her best bud, her favorite cousin, that imp Jaxon, will be ten. His dad got a coupon from Jungle George’s in Fort Wayne offering a free birthday party.

We considered doing a joint birthday for Jax and Liv on Sunday, the day my brother was able to schedule the free party.

At first Olivia was cool with that. But the more she thought about it, the more she wanted to have her ‘party’ on her actual birthday.

Last night, she and I talked about what she considered a party. She wants Barbie decorations and plates. She wants a pink cake with pink frosting and maybe a giant pink B on the cake denoting that it is a Barbie cake.


She went on to tell me that she wants to look like Barbie too. She wants her makeup to make her look like Barbie and she wants to wear Barbie pink clothes.

Okay, but…

She wants her Barbie styling head to be the centerpiece of the table on the night of her birthday.

Okay, fine to all that but does she understand that this ‘party’ will be her, me, her dad, her sister, and her Gram and Pawp?

She nodded.


I continued the conversation with, “You know, maybe next year when you turn twelve, if you’re talking to your classmates, maybe we can have a party where we invite some of them.”

She sort of rolled her eyes at me, as if to say, “Whatever Mom. We all know I have no intention of speaking to my classmates, like, EVER.”

Except I kind of think she WANTS to speak to her classmates. She wants to interact. She wants to be part of the fun, the groups, she antics that right now, she just observes. She just hasn’t figure out how to break the ice. I mean, we’re six years in at her school and she’s talked to maybe two classmates. So she’s got this precedence that she’s set and maybe she feels like talking to them has become this HUGE thing that she doesn’t even want to overcome.

Who knows? She still received speech therapy at school, which emphasizes communicating with her peers. That’s her biggest challenge these days.

So maybe having a goal, a friend birthday party when she turned twelve, will help her work toward talking to her peers.

It can’t hurt.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Last weekend my mom bought the book on which the movie Wonder is based. Kelly Rippa told her viewing audience that they should read the book before seeing the movie and my mom takes her morning talk show hosts’ advice (on occasion, let’s not be crazy.)

She read it in about a day and a half. Then she gave it to me. She told me she didn’t cry reading it nearly as much as Kelly reportedly did but that there were some moments where she did.

She warned me that the parts during which she cried were more about the older sister than about the main character, Auggie.

You see, I’ve shared my worries with my mom concerning Alyssa and the struggles that go along with being the typical sibling of a special needs kid.

If you’ve read even one Jodi Picault novel, you know that typical kids are at high risk for ‘issues’ when they have siblings with special needs. And we know why. It’s because the mother always, ALWAYS puts the needs of the ‘special’ kid first.

One of my biggest fears has always been that Alyssa would feel ‘less than’ because she’s typical; that she’d feel pushed aside because her sister has more needs than she does. I’ve voiced those fears to my mom on more than one occasion.

Which is why she gently warned me that in the book Wonder, the older sister has feelings of being the second place child because she’s typical, she doesn’t have special needs.

So I was warned.

I’m only about a third of the way into the book but already I can tell that this author has been kinder to the mom than Jodi Picault ever is. She doesn’t ignore her daughter, her ‘typical’ child. Sure, Auggie’s needs are often more pressing but the mom has (so far) noticed her daughter’s need for attention, her need to matter.

I hope I’m better than most of the mom’s Jodi Picault has written about. I hope I put Alyssa’s needs right up there with Olivia’s. I hope Alyssa always, ALWAYS knows how important she is, how amazing she is, how much I love her.

I hope she also knows how much I like her, that I think she’s just such a neat person and that she’s one of my very favorite people in the whole world and I will always choose to spend time with her over doing anything else. I pray she knows this. I pray I manage to show it in our day to day interactions, our hugs at the end of an evening together, our time on the couch when she’s showing me videos and memes.

I love both of my girls and acknowledge that their needs are different but neither one has more needs, nor are the needs of one more important than the needs of the other. It’s my job to figure out how to make sure they know this, even as I’m putting one off to meet the needs of the other. I hope I balance that well. I pray for the wisdom and strength to do that every single day.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


This past weekend was pretty good. Since was almost two weeks out from my last chemo, I felt good enough to bake cookies, sweep the kitchen floor, put away several loads of laundry (that Tom washed and dried, he’s still totally my hero.)

I also managed to pick up the toy room a little. That room…OMG. It’s a nightmare. I need to go in there and spend about twelve hours purging the tiny little clutter-boxes that fill that room. There are things in there that need to be tossed, donated, or burned. We keep the door closed most of the time just because it’s depressing to even look in there.

But other than the depression that is the toy room, I felt like I got some things done that hadn’t been done since my surgery.

I mean, I’m trying here. And I feel the need to record what I was able to do twelve days post-chemo this time around.

Which wasn’t much, really but it was something. It was more than I’ve done in the time since my surgery, more than two months ago.


Cookies – they were baked.
Laundry was folded and put away.
There were a few pieces of furniture that were dusted (but so many more still needs it.)
Sheets were washed and put back on beds.
Dishes were washed (several times, go me!) and put away.
Kitchen and bathroom floors – swept (but not mopped, maybe next weekend?)
Tiny crappy toys – cleaned up off the floor of the toy room. Thrown away? Not yet but…someday, hopefully soon.
Pictures Olivia colored have been taped to the mirrors in her room. She’s very proud of these pictures and she should be. Her coloring has come a long way and I want to encourage her to continue to grow and be proud of her work.

Oh yeah, I parented too. Go me.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Another Post about My Hair

Okay, one of these days I will stop talking about my hair. Maybe. No promises.

Did I mention that we used Tom’s clippers last week and buzzed it off? Yes? Okay, sorry for repeating myself but it’s worth it to declare how much freer I feel now that it’s gone.

I hate being a slave to my hair. That’s what I felt like last week. My hair was all I could think about. Had more fallen out? Was it poking out of my hat? Was it all over my shoulders? Was it going to fall into my food?

Thoughts of my stupid hair consumed me.

So I took control. We cut it off at the root, if you will.

There is still quite a bit on my head, acting as a sort of Velcro for my hats.

But it’s no longer the thing I think about constantly.

So I guess what I’m saying is, if you’re facing chemo and thinning hair, when the hair has taken over all your thoughts, go for it. Shave that stuff off. You will feel twenty pounds lighter, metaphorically.

I feel free and light and like I can get on with my life without policing a near-constant steam of hair falling from my head. For what it’s worth.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Chemo Diaries

Chemo Diaries
For posterity I thought I’d write up a bit of what life was like after the second round of chemo. Just to remind myself, I looked back at how the first round went.

Round 1:
Day of chemo: High from the anti-nausea meds. No real effects of the chemo felt. I walked six laps around our yard (one square acre) grooving to the music on my old phone.
Day one after: Felt rundown, as if I were coming down with a cold or the flu. General tiredness. Left work after six hours.

Day two after: Still rundown, a little achy. Noticed my incision had started to seep a little. Ick. Worked nine hours this day.

Day three after: Woke up at 4am feeling blood/fluid running down my side from my incision. Totally stressed over this. Walked into my surgeon’s office as they opened that morning. They said was fine, normal, told me to keep it covered with gauze. At this point, I should have taken stock out in the gauze industry.

By Saturday, which would have been day four after chemo, I was feeling pretty good. I managed to go to the grocery store, take the girls to lunch and only had to rest a bit when we got home.

Round 2 was harder. So much harder.
Day of chemo: Not high at all from the anti-nausea meds. Bummer. Instead, the feelings of tiredness and general yuck started right after the infusion ended. Boooo!
Day one after: Woke up five times to pee in the night. Each time I laid back down I had to curl into a ball to try and settle my stomach. Managed to get through eight hours at work. Go me.

Day two after: Still tired, still achy, still sort of sick to my stomach. The anti-nausea pills my nurse prescribed help but not much. Weird taste (not exactly metallic) and what feels like a film in my mouth. Just all around feeling sort of gross. My hair started falling out today.

Day three after: Okay, so my stupid incision is bleeding…again. Not the normal day to day seepage but actual blood this time. Yeah, it must be the Friday after chemo. Damn it. Spent some time in the surgeon’s office again. This time, I’ve been advised to start packing gauze into my now-open wound. Yay. One more gross thing my poor husband has to do for me. Hair still thinning but not too bad yet.

Day four after: Still tired. Still queasy. Make it through lunch with my mom and Liv (Lyss is in Defiance for an honors choir.) Wore a hat to town even though hair isn’t too thin yet.

Day five after: Go to Defiance to watch Alyssa sing. She’s so beautiful. I love that she gets to do these things. I’m also so grateful that she has friends whose parents are so awesome to pick her up and take her to the practices for this sort of thing without me having to ask. I eat Lemon Heads and mints to counteract the feeling of yuck in my mouth. Indigestion is a near constant battle. Somehow, I managed to avoid heartburn through two pregnancies and now…it feels like chemo has decided to make up for that. Hair thinner still…wearing a hat constantly now.

Day six after: Took Olivia to a dentist appointment. While walking around the mall afterward with her, I was so tired. Needed to get some strawberry lemonade to buck up and get from one end of the mall to the other. Hair…still there but starting to get annoying.

Day seven after: Happy birthday to me. My hair is driving me freaking crazy. It’s poking and stabbing and just…ugh. Oh yes, and joy of joys, today was my first day of experiencing the dreaded diarrhea. Wheee!!! No birthday pie for me. So sad.

Day eight after: Okay, seriously with the hair. I can’t stand it. It’s everywhere, it’s stabby, it’s annoying. I’m approaching Gollum status. Not only is the heartburn still here and the occasional feeling of just yuck, this hair thing is making even the best moments feel icky. My mom offers to use Tom’s clippers and just cut it all off. We go for it and oh my goodness, the freedom I felt the moment she was done. There is still a very short bit of hair left, sort of like Velcro for my hats but it feels so much better I can’t even describe it. I still slept with a hat on because the ‘velcro’ hair still on my head kept catching on my pillow. But even that was not a bother considering I know longer have strands long enough to poke out my hats. I don’t have to clean out my hats when I get home. I can shower without feeling like I’m attempting to wash a shedding dog with piles of hair on my hands and in the bottom of the shower. Whew, just…relief.

Day nine after: Still moments of general tiredness or feeling less than great but mostly good.

And now we wait another week and a few days for the next chemo. Until then…

Friday, November 10, 2017

And Now For Something Different

Woah, I didn’t mean for this to become the all cancer, all chemo, all about me, all the time blog. Sorry. But wait, maybe not so sorry. I mean, this is MY blog and so, yes, I’m going to write what’s on my mind and these days, it really is pretty much all cancer, all chemo, all me, all the time.

Except when it isn’t.

I had parent/teacher conferences with Liv’s teachers yesterday.

They were basically what I expected.

She loves to read, she excels at spelling. She hates math. She needs a lot of supervision and yet…just the other day, she sat at her desk, her teacher sat six feet away at her own desk and Olivia worked on a project for twenty minutes without stopping to doodle. Olivia couldn’t not see if her teacher was anywhere nearby because her desk (O’s desk, that is) faces away from the teacher’s desk. They did that because Olivia and another classmate have bonded and if they can see each other, they giggle and act silly all day long. Now they’re back to back. Smart teachers!

(Tangent: The classmate that Liv has bonded with is in first grade. This makes sense to me because emotionally, I think that Liv is about 6 or 7 years old. So the first grader is her emotional peer. I take heart in this. It means she CAN connect with peers, they might just always be younger chronologically than she is. And that’s okay.)

She’s come a long way in the six or so weeks that she’s been in the smaller classroom. She’s working more independently (most of the time, we still get reports that she had a tough day and didn’t stay on task but they’re fewer and farther between.) Her handwriting has improved immensely. There is less doodling on her homework and classwork pages.

She’s still in the typical classroom for science and social studies. Her teachers wanted to pull her out for social studies but realized that if they did, she’d be getting pulled out often enough that it might raise some red flags with the state. So…no. We’re going to keep things as they are.

I mentioned that I’m actually okay with that because I truly believe that Olivia gets something, even if it’s very subtle, out of being around her typical, age-appropriate peers. It might not come through for years yet, but being with these kids, even for a couple of hours, during a couple of subjects, will help her in the long run. Sure, she might need extra help with the academics, but school is about more than the grades we get. Her teachers were both glad to hear that I felt that way because they agree.

I ended up spending twenty minutes with O’s newer teacher, the one who works with her most closely. Then I headed down to meet with the typical classroom teacher. She’s awesome and wanted me to understand that she wasn’t giving up on Olivia even though she’s only with her for two subjects.

I told her I understood that and never thought she didn’t want Liv in her classroom. I pointed out that Olivia is an enigma that we’re all still trying to figure out.

We talked about Liv for maybe ten minutes then she started asking me about my treatment.

It turns out she’d faced a cancer diagnosis not even a year ago and we compared notes about chemo and radiation and recovery. She didn’t have breast cancer, so her chemo was completely different. She never felt sick and didn’t lose her hair. But she was stage 3, which is SO SCARY and is currently doing very well.

And look at that, we came back full circle and are talking about me and cancer again. How about that?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

The Ever-Annoying State of My Hair

I am so ready for this to be done. My hair is awful.

I mean, I knew it was going to fall out. I was fine with that. I’ve made peace with it and it’s all good.

So can it just go now?

I mean, seriously, there is SO MUCH hair. And it’s everywhere. And it’s stabby and itchy and annoying.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things this is not that big a deal. I feel crappy at some point every single day. And yet, right this second, my hair and what feels like its s l o w descent to my bathroom floor feels like the biggest thing. Maybe because I know there’s something that can be done to fix it.

I need to go home, get my husband’s clippers, and buzz the crap out of the remaining ten strands of hair. That would get rid of the last stubborn few that are just waiting to stab me in the skull, attach themselves to my hats and just irritate the shit out of me.

I can’t control when I feel terrible. I can’t control the fact that I pee all the dang time. I can’t control the leg cramps that wake me up on a nightly (sometimes twice!) basis.

But I can take control of this hair situation.

And I’m going to. Because it needs to be over. It needs to be gone.

Then I’ll google how long it takes after finishing chemo for hair to start growing back.


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Life Goes On

I’m putting off my next chemo.

It’s okay, though. I talked to the nurses at the Cancer Center, who then talked to the doctor and he approved my decision to delay the next round for a week.

It will probably seem trivial but I felt like it was important to wait a week before having the next one.

See, Alyssa’s choir trip to Chicago is the weekend of November 17. I was accepted at a chaperone before I was even diagnosed, before surgery, before chemo. Before…

We paid for both Alyssa’s and my costs for the trip. We’ve had this planned for months. I’m going to room with Nora’s and Tasha’s moms. It’s going to be awesome.

Except, it almost wasn’t because I was originally scheduled to have chemo on November 14, just three days before we boarded the bus and headed to Chicago for two days and a night of shows and walking and eating and socializing.

And I knew that if I had the chemotherapy on the 14th, I was going to be miserable to the point of possibly not even going. I mean, what’s the point if I couldn’t walk more than a block without needing to rest or not being able to eat due to nausea and just a general feeling of yuck?

So I talked to the nurses, explaining the situation. They were sympathetic and the doctor made the final call, which was that it wouldn’t hurt me or my chemo schedule to put it off for a week. So yay.

Tom questioned whether this was a good idea.

I pointed out that the whole reason we’re doing this is because I want to live. I want to be here for my girls. I want to be here this week, and next month and in 2021 and when they find partners and if they decide to have babies. I want to live.

And I need to continue living right now as much as I can. Going on this trip makes the chemo that I’ll have the week of Thanksgiving worth it. It makes everything more clear, it makes me remember why I’m suffering through the effects of chemo.

Because I want to live.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Chronically Gross

Here’s the thing about chemotherapy…it attacks the fastest growing cells first; which is why it works so well at killing cancer cells. Those suckers grow like crazy. But hair and skin are also fast growing cells, which again, is why hair falls out and skin breaks down.

Scar tissue is, duh, skin. So yeah.

I had chemo on Tuesday. By Thursday, my incision was oozing. It’s gross. I saw my surgeon yesterday. He packed the incision with gauze (again…GROSS!) and put me on two antibiotics and some probiotics for the next ten days.

He also wants Tom to pack my incision each day with new gauze. Poor Tom.

Thankfully, he’s not all that squeamish. He’s more worried about hurting me than about the grossness of the process of packing the incision. But still, so gross. (And for the record, he didn’t hurt me, he was very gentle.)

I know this is just par for the course. We just have to keep on keeping on and next week will be better. My energy will come back, my incision will stop seeping. I will sleep better and my stomach won’t hurt all the time.

I know all this logically but while I sit here with the corner of a gauze pad stuffed inside an opening in my body (seriously, SO FREAKING GROSS) and know that for the next ten or so days, my dear, loving, kind, generous, over-worked husband will have to replace that gauze daily, well, I’m just feeling a little sorry for myself.

It must be the Friday after chemo.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Kindness of Friends

As noted in yesterday’s chemo diary, I received a hat in the mail from Julie just this past Saturday. It was much appreciated.

I have been so blessed to have some amazing friends, far and near, as my family and I go through this whole cancer diagnosis, surgery, chemo thing.

Julie has sent me some awesome gifts, usually arriving just when I need them, even though I didn’t know I needed them until they arrived in my mailbox or on my doorstep. Her kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity humbles me.

The parents of some of Alyssa’s friends have shown so much kindness during this time. Their willingness to step up and do things that I simply can’t do right now shows so much grace and makes me want to be a better person.

The Porch family has brought Alyssa home from more football games in the past couple of months than I can count. Sure, we’re only a mile out of their way but still…I have never once had to ask them to do this, Mrs. Porch has just called or texted the day of the game and informed me, “We’ll be bringing Alyssa home tonight, stay in, stay warm.”

So kind. So sweet. It brings tears to my eyes.

This coming weekend Alyssa has an honors choir thing in Defiance, Ohio (about an hour drive from our town.) On Monday, Alyssa’s friend Serena’s mom texted me and said she’d gotten together with another friend’s mom. They’d decided that Serena’s mom would take the girls to the Saturday morning practice and Tessa’s mom would bring them all home. That same afternoon, Tessa’s mom texted to suggest that Lyss go home with Tessa after school and she’d (the mom) take the girls to Defiance for the Thursday practice.

All I have to do is rest and stay healthy enough to attend the performance in Defiance on Sunday afternoon.

I am blown away by how much everyone is doing for us. These little things mean the world when you’re feeling gross and tired and, at times, completely overwhelmed by all that needs to be done and the energy to do none of it.

Now…if someone would just come and clean my bathrooms...

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Chemo #2

I was not high yesterday after chemo. Nope, instead I just felt yucky. Yes, yucky. Apparently chemotherapy turns me into a four year old.

I had to get up five times, FIVE TIMES, to pee last night and each time I got back into bed, I had to curl into a ball to try and sooth my stupid stomach, which was queasy but not quite puky.

I went to bed at 9:30 and woke up at 11:35 sweating like it was 85 degrees in my house. For the record, it was 67 degrees. To be fair, I did have a sheet, a comforter and two quilts covering me, so that’s probably a big part of the disgusting sweat. I tossed off all but a sheet and a quilt, turned on a small fan by my bed and rest for about an hour before having to pee again.

Today, the day after the second chemo, is better than yesterday. I don’t feel as sick or as tired. We’ll see how the day goes.

Big news…my hair is falling out. I can stand over a trashcan and run my hands through my hair and see the strands dropping. We’ll see how long it takes to all fall out. Here today, gone tomorrow? I have a hat in my bag (the one Julie sent me all the way from Indianapolis!) in my bag should the hair just suddenly decide to vacate my head and I have to leave work bald. At least my head won’t be cold.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The Halloween Part of the Party

Yes, I got my hair cut while in Battle Creek. But that wasn’t the main reason we even went to Battle Creek.

About a week ago, my grandma, my mom’s mom, turned 92. My aunt, the one with whom my grandma lives, decided to celebrate Grandma’s birthday with a pizza party with a Halloween theme. We all dressed up and ended up having Trunk or Treating in the parking lot of my aunt’s salon (she has a big room attached to her salon where she throws parties.)

Everyone dressed up, most of us in costumes made or bought by my mom. I wore scrubs and had a stethoscope, so yes, I was a doctor. I was most excellent at diagnosing and curing pepperoni-itis. To avoid pepperoni-itis, one should avoid hanging out with dirty sausages and if avoiding the dirty sausages is impossible, always wash your hands after you’ve spent time with those dirty sausages.

Alyssa was Wonder Woman (again…remember when she as Wonder Woman back when she was 7? She was so flipping cute.)

Olivia was Princess Tori from Barbie, the Princess and the Pop Star. But she was Princess Tori after she (Tori) had switched places with Kira, the Popstar, for the day. So Liv’s dress was purple, like Kira’s, her hair was purple and she had a microphone. The only indication that she was actually Tori was the heart necklace she wore. See, Kira wears a star necklace and the two never switch necklaces, even when they switch everything else. Yeah, it was convoluted, but she could explain it to anyone who asked.

My mom was an elf.

My nephew Jaxon was a Tasmanian devil. Not to be confused with Warner Brothers Taz. No, he was a wild Tasmanian devil and damn, that boy had mastered the weird growly, hissy sound Tasmanian devils make. It was SUPER creepy.

Grandma Dorothy was The Queen. She was adorable.

My cousin’s daughter S was Slice, the Papa John mascot.

There were so many others but the above (no counting Grandma Dorothy) were the ones my mom had an actual hand in either making or acquiring (she didn’t make my scrubs, she bought them for $3 at our local Project Help.)

There was much fun had as we ate pizza, traded candy, visited with relatives we don’t see often enough and just mingled, trying to avoid the wild animal that wouldn’t stop chasing Princess Tori from one corner of the room to the other.

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Evolution of My Hair

Remember when I got that horrible haircut back in, what was it? 2013? Wait, let me check. Okay, so it was the Monday before Christmas 2014. Thank goodness for archives.

Yes, I got that horrible haircut at the Walmart Salon. I know, you get what you pay for. Then I let it grow out from that point on, with a quick trim here and there from the one and only Alyssa J. Ordinary.

Well, as we all know, chemotherapy often (usually?) makes one’s hair fall out.

My oncologist has pretty much guaranteed that my hair will fall out.

So this past weekend, we took a journey to Battle Creek, Michigan where my lovely Auntie Lorry cut my hair so that the cleanup (Tom has an issue with hair in the drains of our tubs and showers…  ) will be easier .

Alyssa took picture before, during and after the epic evolution of my hair.



Let me state here that I thought I’d hate my hair being this short. I mean, I have this HUGE round moon face and I worried so that short hair would just emphasize that. Though, honestly, it’s not like my hair did all that much camouflaging of my giant moon face when it was in a ponytail, which was like, ALWAYS the case.

But here it is after:

And guess what? I don’t hate it.

It helps that Lorry did an excellent job with the cut. She took so much care and time to get it just the way she (and I) wanted it. She’s the BEST.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Stream of Blah, Blah, Blah

This week has been a pretty good one. I kind of thought it would. I mean, we’re over a week out from the first chemo, so things had to be uphill, right?

I’ve felt pretty good, if a little low on energy, this week. My incision is still seeping a little but nothing to be too worried about (I hope. I guess I’ll find out on Monday when I see the surgeon again.) And I am REALLY tired of wearing a bra to bed. Six weeks feels like a LONG time to be wearing a damned bra. But we do what we must, right?

My car is finally fixed! We’ll celebrate that one even as we weep on the way to the bank to withdraw $900 to pay the mechanic.

The girls and I are going with my mom this weekend to celebrate my Grandma Dorothy’s 92nd birthday. My Aunt Lorry is hosting a pizza/Halloween/Birthday party for everyone and we’re going to go and have a blast. We’re going to go up early so Lorry can cut my hair. Won’t that be fun? We’re going with a very short, but not quite buzzed cut. Someone at work asked me if I was doing this in an effort to maintain control over my hair.

Eh, I don’t think so. I think the obvious reason is that if it’s going to fall out (the doctor says it IS going to fall out) I’d rather deal with a bazillion inch long strands of hair than a bazillion eight to ten inch strands of hair.

I don’t have much control right now over anything. I mean, I can’t stop my incision from leaking. I can’t control what the blood work says come Monday morning when they do the labs and decide if I can have chemo on Tuesday. I can’t control how I feel after chemo for following week. I’m trying to embrace this whole thing as one big uncontrollable rollercoaster ride.

Yeah, it’s going REALLY well.

I want to go to the last home football game tonight because it will be Alyssa’s last performance in the marching band as a freshman. I know, that’s not really that big a deal but it feels like it is to me. She’s excited about it and wants me to be there. The problem is…it’s going to be forty freaking degrees out there and it’s raining. Do I go and risk getting sick? I mean, I know being cold and wet don’t actually make a person sick. I GET that. Duh. But, I’ve had one dose of chemo. I’m already working on a lowered immune system and I’ll be around a lot of people, people who might be sick. They COULD have been exposed to germs that are incubating and just waiting for someone to come along and be a nice warm host.

So there’s that conundrum.

My chemo nurse recommended that I keep a chemo journal. I do know that this is excellent advice and yet I’ve managed to write in a paper journal all of one time since my first chemo, and that was the day of chemo, before I got too high from the anti-nausea meds that were being pumped directly into my veins.

I could have written about how on Wednesday, the day after chemo, I felt run down but not too bad. I made it through an entire day at work. Thursday was pretty much the same, kind of like I was on the verge of coming down with something but it never really materialized. Friday was tough, what with the seeping incision and all around feeling terrible. I slept all day Friday, which was the third day after chemo.

Saturday, day four after chemo was okay. I showered, took the girls to town to buy groceries and have lunch. I think I might have even made dinner that night. Go me!!

There’s nothing much to report after that. It was as if the first four or so days were tiring but not horrible. The whole idea of the journal thing is to see if there is a pattern, so perhaps I’ll be better about it during this next cycle to see if it goes the same as the first.

Spirits are good. I mean, what can I do? The only way to the end is to go through it all. Away we go.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


When I left work last Friday to go home and sleep the entire day away, I made a quick stop at Walmart because the only things that sounded good to eat were Fruity Pebbles and hamburger dill pickles. Not at the same time! Eww.

Anyway, I also picked up some milk and bread and a magazine in case Olivia needed to poop over the weekend.

As I was loading my things into my car, I noticed a woman in the car facing mine. She kept looking at me and at my car. I finished putting the bags in the car, put the cart away and had climbed into my car when the woman watching me got out of her car and approached my door.

I opened the door a few inches.

She said, “I know this is really weird but I had to tell you that there is a woman in your car with you.”

I looked at her and then at my passenger seat, which held my purse, the bag I carry to work each day and my sweater.

The woman outside my car insisted, “I know there’s not really anyone there, but from my car, I can see an old woman with glasses and gray hair sitting in your passenger seat.”

“Oh,” I said, smiling a little to let her know I didn’t think she was completely crazy.

Once she’d told me about my ghostly companion, the woman went back to her car. As she climbed into her car, she glanced back at my car, through the windshield at the passenger seat and at that she covered her eyes, as if freaked out by what she’d seen.

I once again looked at the seat next to me and saw nothing. And honestly, I felt nothing, no ghostly presence, no sense that someone or something was in the car with me. I didn’t get out of the car to look at it from the angle the woman had looked because, well, I wondered if she was scamming me and just trying to get me to get out of my car. Instead, I started the car and headed home.

Once I’d driven about four miles, while waiting at a stoplight to turn left and head toward home, my stupid car’s stabilitrak came on again, ding, ding, dinging me that the engine power was reduced.

I pulled over and let it sit for twenty seconds. It didn’t help. I drove it about four miles at about forty miles per hour and pulled into a cemetery where I turned the car off and waited at least two minutes before turning it back on.

This helped the car to reset itself and I was able to drive home without another incident.

I wonder, though…maybe my ‘passenger’ made my car act up because she needed to me pull off at that cemetery so she could get out…

Monday, October 23, 2017


Last Friday was…tough. I woke up at 4am to the feeling of something running down my side. Yes, of course it was my left side. Yes, my incision was leaking a clearish, yellowish, blood-tinged fluid. It was gross. And drippy. And disgusting. And I was scared and annoyed and wide freaking awake. I’m kind of ashamed to admit that I woke my husband up at 4:05 to complain about the grossness that is my body. He was tired and probably frustrated with me but tried to be helpful.

I feel like my body isn’t currently my own. The scars are not that big a deal. I mean, whatever. But the leaking, the aching, the tugging. I feel like I can sense my hair dying, though none has fallen out yet.

I ended up wrapping a towel around my chest and sleeping in the recliner until Olivia woke up. I managed to get through getting her ready for school and then dressed myself, using a gauze pad and a wash cloth to continue to soak up whatever might be leaking out of my body. Ick.

I found myself at the doctor’s office at 8am, which, yay, is when they open. The nurse practitioner and doctor were both incredibly kind as they examined me. They declared that the leaking is actually a good thing. The fluid was clear, not cloudy, so no sign of infection. The fact that it’s coming out is a good thing because it means it’s not building up in my body. Still…can it just…not?

I did manage to make my way to work but felt pretty horrible most of the morning. I hadn’t showered due to the uh, leaking. I wasn’t sure I was supposed to. The doctor told me it was fine to shower. No immersion into water but showering is great. And I’d like to report, my shower on Saturday morning was awesome. So yeah, I felt gross, physically, emotionally, medically.

I’m so tired of feeling like I have to call my doctor every third day. And yet, I know this is something that will likely continue for many months to come. I know we have to do more damaged to my body before I can finally start to heal.

I’m afraid I’m not dealing with chronic illness with the grace I’d hoped I would. I’m not above feeling sorry for myself and that’s what I did on Friday. I was tired, I was scared, I was sick. I ended up going home at 11:00 that day, making a quick stop at Walmart for Fruity Pebbles and hamburger dill pickles. What?

I slept for the entire afternoon and most of the evening on Friday. I neglected my kids, my husband, my house and my job.

And on Saturday, I felt physically better. The leaking has mostly stopped. The nausea is mostly gone. I showered which meant I smelled better. I took the girls to the library, to lunch and to buy groceries. We did normal things and spent actual time together.

I know this isn’t forever but on Friday, it felt like it was. It felt like I was going to be sick forever and that I had been sick forever. I felt like a failure as a wife and a mother.

My dad wants me to extend an olive branch to my sister and there I sat thinking, “Why? I didn’t actually do anything wrong!?!” So that made me feel like I was failing as a daughter and a sister.

I haven’t been much of a friend lately either, so let’s add that to the list.

This journey is going to be up and down. I know this. I just pray to face the down moments a little more gracefully than I did last Friday. Or, you know, maybe just sleep through them again. That works too.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

System Check

Each morning I wake up and do a system check.

This morning went like this:

Head? Achy.

Stomach? Queasy.

Incision? Better.

Lower back? So much better now that the hematoma is gone and I can sleep on either side.

Hair? Still there, for now. I guess we’ll see how that continues. The doctor and nurse both say it will probably start falling out about two weeks after the first chemo so…yeah.

Hand bruise from IV? Still gross.

Port? Incision still healing, port seems intact.

Clock? 4am…why am I awake!?!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


I had my first chemo appointment yesterday. It took about three hours from start to finish, with start being arriving and meeting with the doctor and finish being walking out the door.

The oncologist didn’t think starting chemo yesterday would impede the healing of the incision they’d reopened to remove the hematoma. He was actually glad they’d gone in and taken it out. He said to the student who joined him during our appointment yesterday, “She had the biggest hematoma I’ve ever seen in all my years as a doctor.”

Go me, excelling at something disgusting.

Upon release from the doctor’s office, I was sent into the big room where everyone received chemo like one big happy family. For the record, my being there totally skews the average age by about ten years. Just saying…

I was told to pick a chair and make myself comfortable. Okay. There were already four people receiving treatment and one of those people had two caregivers with her.

My mom and I found a chair in the corner and settled in. I was probably in that chair for twenty minutes before the nurse had time to start my treatment. This poor woman is the only nurse working and so she was dealing with every single beep from every IV machine and changing bags and removing needles from ports. She works VERY hard and has a great sense of humor about it all. Best person for the job, if you ask me.

When it was my turn to have my port accessed she said I would feel a stab. Nope, I felt nothing. I told her it was painless. She asked me if I was dead.

About an hour in, my mom said, “As we go along in these treatments, you might get dropped off.”

Yeah, I can totally understand that. I finally told her that if she wanted to go get something to eat, I was fine with her leaving. I just requested a Coke from McD’s if she did leave. I mean, everyone knows that McD’s Coke is the best Coke around. She was kind enough to fill my request.

I ate some cheese popcorn while I waited.

The anti-nausea meds they gave me started making my head fuzzy. By the time we left the clinic, I said to my mom, “I think I’m high. Am I talking really loud and fast?”

She said, “Not really, but maybe a little.”

We went to Walmart where I bought shampoo and a jacket for Olivia. We met one of my mom’s many sisters at Subway and I ate half a sub. It was delicious. I also bought Tom his own sub because I’m that kind of loving wife.

I was still high.

We beat the girls home by about three minutes.

I was high all night long. Alyssa thought I was hilarious.

I posted this picture on Facebook because, as I told Alyssa, “I’m so cute!! Look at how pretty my eyes are!”

Yep, totally high.

Today…I feel okay. A little rundown, kind of tired. Not quite nauseous but also not exactly good either. I’ve been told that today is the worst and it’s uphill from here. I hope so. If this is the worst, I will count myself very lucky.

Monday, October 16, 2017

The Grossest Thing Yet

I have mentioned the lovely hematoma that developed after surgery. It stuck around, being a pain in my left breast. (I’m so clever.)

Last Monday, I noticed what looked like a blood blister on one end of my incision. It looked like a blood blister because it was a blood blister. It was yucky. I checked it daily and by Wednesday evening, I decided I’d call the doctor the next day.

I called on Thursday at 8am, and talked to the receptionist and she put me on the schedule that day for 9:30. I went about my morning at work.

At 8:45, I went to the bathroom and as I was heading back to my office, I thought, “That’s weird. I’m not hot but it feels like I’m sweating.”

I reached under my shirt (because I’m all dainty like that) and swiped at what I thought was sweat. My hand came out bloody.

I went back to the bathroom, moved my sweater aside and saw that I had a huge blood stain on my shirt. Because I was alone in the bathroom, I pulled up my shirt to see if I could see where the blood was coming from. The blood blister had not burst. I couldn’t see the source of the blood.

I decided I was not waiting until the 9:30 appointment time. I told a couple of people I was leaving and headed to the doctor, with a minor detour to Walmart to buy a shirt and bra that were not bloody. Ick.

I got to the doctor’s office about twenty-five minutes early. I showed the receptionist the blood stain on my shirt and was ushered back to an exam room immediately. Ha.

I was then informed that the surgeon was on vacation and the nurse practitioner would be in to see me in a few minutes. I was told to take off my shirt and bra and put on a gown.

It was during the disrobing that I saw the source of the blood.

My nipple. It was so gross!

The nurse practitioner showed up and did a quick exam. She noted that the blood that was seeping from my body was not old blood but new blood and so that was a cause for concern.

You think?

She told me she wanted to refer me to the surgeon who covered for Dr. B when he was out. This doctor was in the next town south of us; about a twenty five minute drive. She thought he might want to go through the original incision and take out the hematoma. It was red, warm to the touch and very hard.

She and the nurse left the room to make some calls. I was told to not put my shirt back on just in case the surgeon wanted pictures. Nice.

They came back less than ten minutes later and said I should make my way to Auburn, where Dr. J was waiting to see me. They asked me if I had someone who could drive me.

I’d called my mom while they were making their own calls. She’d mentioned a dentist appointment in town. I told them I’d call my husband and see what we could do.

I left with the name, number and address of the surgeon in Auburn.

I hadn’t made it out of the building when my phone rang. My mom was calling to say she’d cancelled her dentist appointment and she was on her way to pick me up. She’s definitely earning her Mother of the Year status.

Upon examination, the new surgeon declared that he wanted to do surgery that day. He said he wasn’t sure where the blood was coming from but it had found the path of least resistance for exit. Blech.

I was prepped for surgery, we waited and then waited some more because I’d had a honey bun and some tomato juice at 7:30 that morning since I didn’t KNOW I’d end up having freaking surgery that afternoon.

We also had to wait because I was an ‘add-on’ to the schedule and the doctor already had to do a gall bladder surgery and a bowel surgery. Shudder.

The surgery itself took about a half hour and I was home by 5:30 that afternoon.

And honestly, it feels so much better now. The hard hematoma is gone (though there is still a bit of swelling around the incision…) and I’m on the mend.

Tomorrow we’ll see if they’re willing to start chemo five days after surgery.

I will say, though, that bleeding from my freaking nipple is definitely the grossest thing I’ve experienced so far. Tom, because he’s a funny, funny guy, said I could nurse a vampire baby. Ugh.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chemo Class

I had an appointment yesterday at the cancer center where I’ll be getting chemo treatments for the next, oh, five months.

The appointment was with the nurse who will be administering the chemo. She’s very nice, seems to like her job, was incredibly kind to all the patients in the room where I meeting with her.

She went over all the side effects associated with the chemo I’ll be receiving (Adriamycin/Cytoxan for the first four treatments over eight weeks and Taxol for the last twelve treatments, for inquiring minds…)

Oddly (or not) the side effect that bothers me the most is diarrhea. I mean, yeah, we all poop but…ugh. The thought of having uncontrollable diarrhea is quite distressing.

In fact, this is on my mind way more than the more common side effect of hair loss. I don’t mind sacrificing my hair in hopes of gaining decades with my girls, husband, family and friends. Nope, the hair will grow back. And as of right now, I have no plans for getting a wig. Heck, most days, my own hair drives me crazy enough that it ends up in a ponytail about two hours after my morning shower, whether I blew it dry or not. So, no wig, unless it comes pre-ponytailed.

Now, logically, I know that the embarrassment of pooping my pants during a bout of diarrhea will fade but it just sounds so very awful. I also know there are meds I can take which should minimalize the duration and severity of diarrhea. I just keep thinking about having to go during the twenty minute drive home from work where there are cornfields and, well, more cornfields. Unless I decide to put a spare roll of toilet paper and some wipes in my car, I don’t think I’ll be pooping in any cornfields. Those leaves are pretty rough.

I know that poop can be cleaned up but ick. It’s just all so gross and demeaning.

Alas…if it happens, it happens. The only way to get to the end of treatment is to go through it. Baldness, poop and all.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

A Toothy Tale

Olivia had an appointment with her dentist last week for a cleaning. This led to another appointment in November for a couple of fillings. Yes, we do brush her teeth, yes, she uses a fluoride rinse and still…cavities.

She also has a tooth that’s been lose FOREVER, so long, in fact, that the permanent tooth is coming in BEHIND the one that won’t fall out.

See this chart?

It’s the tooth on the bottom left that has a number 8 on it that’s being stupid and not falling out to make room for the permanent tooth. The baby tooth has just sort of fallen over and refuses to move.

Last night when I got home from work, she informed me that a new tooth was loose. The newly loose tooth was the one right behind the insane one, the one with the number 6 on it on that chart above.

This tooth had already been crowned at one point in O’s long-lasting relationship with her dentist. She pushed it a bit to show me that it was loose and we went about her evening routine of me yelling at her to write her spelling her words, her yelling at me that she IS writing them and then me hissing at her to prove it and write the stupid words!

Ahem. That was a bit of a derailment. Sorry.

Since it was Monday, we headed to my mom’s. Alyssa plopped herself in front of the television to watch the season premiere of season 4 of Z Nation. I sat at the kitchen table with my mom and one of her sisters.

Olivia stayed with us and ate some strawberry shortcake and complain about her newly loose tooth. She showed it to my mom. My mom wiggled the tooth a little for Liv, made it bleed, grossing Livie out when she (Mom) showed Liv the blood.

Olivia insisted on rinsing her mouth out and then, five minutes later, she handed me her silver tooth. Ick.

She showed my mom the space where the tooth had been and a bright white new tooth was already right there, ready to take the crowned ones place.

She was so excited to go home and show her dad and to put that tooth under her pillow for the tooth fairy. She woke up at five this morning looking for the baggy her tooth had been in.

The tooth had been replaced by cash and a note from the tooth fairy.

Bless my sweet girl, she loves those notes from the tooth fairy more than she cares about the money. She didn’t even count it. She tossed the $4 on the counter and unfolded the note, scanning it and then looking up at me in wonder was she read the note.

I love Olivia’s imagination. I love that she believes in magic and the tooth fairy and even if she is a little skeptical, she wants so badly to believe that I let her.

She’s still got eleven baby teeth to lose…yikes and yes, gross. But I will write those notes for the next eleven if I get to see that look of joy and awe on her face each time she reads one.

Oh yes, by the way, having eleven baby teeth to lose at almost eleven years old means she’s dentally delayed. Alas, she and her sister got that awesomeness from me. I was always severely dentally delayed. Whatever. At 46, who cares, right? And now that Lyss is 14 and about to be relieved of her braces, she doesn’t care either.

Here’s to going broke all in the name of the tooth fairy!