Friday, August 31, 2018

Back At It

I think I’m getting my groove back. I’m trying anyway.

We’re back to our regularly scheduled programming. Even though I’m working for a different company, my hours are the same as they were for the past eighteen years. I leave just before the girls get on the bus, I get home at 5ish, I work Monday through Friday.

I help Liv with her homework each day when I get home. On the bright side, I’ve only made her cry once since we started our homework sessions a week and a half ago. On the other hand, I’ve made her cry once during our homework sessions. I try so hard to remember that she’s not being difficult on purpose but in the moment, it’s so frustrating.

I often just want to do the work myself but I know she won’t learn anything if I do that. She’s so smart, it’s just so hard to get her to show it. Her teachers are amazing. They reach into her (figuratively, duh) and find ways to connect. But I know she can frustrate them too. Last week we got a note home suggesting that she wear her gym clothes to school rather than take them and change while at school. Apparently, last Friday, it took her thirty (30!) minutes to change from her gym clothes back into her regular clothes. She only has gym two days a week so I’m good with sending her in clothes that might get sweaty that day. Apparently, fifth graders are supposed to be self-sufficient enough to change from their regular clothes into gym clothes and back again each day they have gym class. Ha!

When I asked Liv what took her so long when changing, she informed me that the bathroom where she changes (as in, she refuses to change in the locker room with the other fifth grade girls) there were too many other kids who wanted to use the actual toilets and she had to wait for a stall in which to change. Huh. Her aide and I (we communicate via direct messaging on FB) were skeptical as to this excuse. But what do I know? I’m not there.

Liv gets herself dressed each morning and it takes her less than five minutes. But like I said, she’s smart and she hates gym, I wouldn’t put it past her to take her sweet time in changing just so she can miss half the class. I’d have done it too back in the day if I’d thought of it and thought I could get away with it. She’s a smart cookie and tends to be a little sneaky, is what I’m saying.

Lyss tried out for the school play yesterday. I’m so proud of her for doing this kind of thing. It took me until my senior year to be brave enough to do that.

School is in full swing. The first home football game is this coming Friday. I don’t actually enjoy high school football so I will just go in time to see the marching band’s half-time show. I still pay full price to get in for all of fifteen minutes, so the school is getting their money and I save myself some boredom. Sorry parents of kids who play football, it’s just not my thing. Heck, to be honest, I don’t really enjoy track meets but I go because my kid runs/jumps. I stay for the whole thing to, because, well, because it’s not quite as boring as football. *shrug*

Since Labor Day weekend is considered the end of summer and the beginning of fall, I will be taking down all our outside summer decorations this weekend. Down will come the flags and up will go the pumpkins and black cats. I love the decorations of fall/Halloween even if I don’t enjoy the actual weather that fall brings. I don’t care if you get to wear sweaters/sweatshirts in the fall, I don’t like the cold. Whatever.

This working thing is tough to get back into. I have to work on my stamina. I can go to bed at 9pm and still sleep until 10am on the weekends. What can I say, I’m a sleeper. I’m doing okay with getting up at 6am on week days, though I will be the first to admit that I don’t actually enjoy it. I know there are people out there who like mornings. My husband is one of them, bless his heart.

I shouldn’t be surprised that not working for almost nine months would lead me to being kind of out of shape, tired, etc. I mean, add in cancer treatments and no wonder I’m having to rebuild my stamina, my strength, my will to get out of bed. I know that each week, each day will get easier and better. I have faith and know that I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.

This is why I went through treatments, right? Because I wanted to get back to my life.

I’m so very lucky this is my life and that I get to live it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

One Year

One year ago today I received a diagnosis of triple negative breast cancer.

Yesterday I started a new job. Last week the girls started school.

Almost six months ago, I finished chemotherapy. Almost fourteen weeks ago I finished radiation.

I just spent one of the best summers of my life with my husband and my girls.

What does it all mean?

I want my cancer journey to mean something, to have some kind of impact on more than just me.

While in treatment, I believe I brought a bit if levity to the chemo room where I received my chemo. My surgeon told me that my positive attitude was a huge part of my healing. He has told me several times that I'm a pleasure to treat. That's something.

But what now?

What is my new normal? Am I even ready for a new normal? My left breast is still swollen and the scars still hurt occasionally. I'm definitely not ready for strenuous exercise and yet I need to lose weight.

I'm happy with my new job but I wonder if I'll be able to find a way to make a difference in the world of cancer treatment while doing my job. Am I even supposed to make a difference? Maybe this was all just so I could appreciate my family more.

I don't know.

What I do know is that I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be healthy and on my way to being even healthier. I'm so happy to have spent the summer with Liv at the pool, with Lyss as she learned to drive, with Tom in the yard, in the house, just being here, living, laughing, loving.

Maybe that's what it all means, appreciating a long summer with my family, appreciating not hurting, learning to appreciate my body, scars, fat, flaws and all.

I guess maybe I'll spend this next year figuring it all out and finding my new normal.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

New Beginnings

School started last Thursday. Fifth grade and sophomore year. Two days in and well, I've had a few stressful thoughts as I try to fall asleep at night. On Friday Olivia mentioned that she sits alone at lunch. Sigh. I suppose as the kids get older, the more they gravitate toward the norm and my sweet Liv is not the norm.

I fretted over it. I prayed over it. And I asked her how she feels about it. I wanted to get her thoughts and feelings before I talk to her teacher and/or aide about it. She shrugged and said she doesn't care. She said on the first day of school a bunch of kids sat at her table. She said she doesn't want me to talk to her teacher about it. She just wants to see how it goes and if she sits alone, she says she doesn't care. I have to trust her. I have to let her navigate this as she wants. I hope she'll continue to talk to me and let me know if it does start to bother her.

I start a new job tomorrow. Perfect timing, right? This new job will start one day before the anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis. How's that for coincidence? I started my last job on August 21. I got my diagnosis 17 years to the day after I started my last job. So I start this new job on the 20th. I like that it's not exactly on the same day. It let's me celebrate one day and ruminate on the other day. There should be a post that day about finding my new normal.

My new job is a little less responsibility than my last job and honestly, I'm relieved. I'm ready to work again but I'm also ready to let others be in charge more than I will be. I like being a helper and that's what this job will be. I'll kind of be the administrative assistant to several people. I can handle that.

I can also handle having an income again.

It will be good for me to have somewhere to go each day. I mean, I don't think I could handle spending the rest of my life sleeping until 11am each day. But it was fun for the past eight months or so. Wait, I didn't actually do that. I just did it sometimes.

I need to start moving again. I need to have a normal sleep pattern. I need to feel productive. I could only mop my kitchen floor so many times a week, you know? And while my family generates a lot of laundry, I still don't have enough to keep me busy every single day.

No, this new job is a wonderful thing. It came along at the perfect time and it feels good to be found worthy of hiring.

Here's to new beginnings for both me and my sweet girls.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Notes From the Tooth Fairy

Several weeks ago, Liv had to have five baby teeth pulled. When we visited the orthodontist in May, he found seven that needed to come out. Before we made it to the dentist, Liv managed to get one of those seven out while eating some Dots candy. The other sixth tooth is hanging on by a thread and the dentist said it should just come out by itself. The permanent tooth is actually already in, the baby tooth is behind it. Liv is channeling Shark Week with those two teeth. The dentist did say that if it isn't out when we go back in a couple of weeks for some work on her teeth, he'll just pop it out. I might just go out and buy her some more Dots.

The dentist was kind enough to send O's teeth home with her so she could put them under her pillow for the tooth fairy. Olivia's pretty sure I'm the tooth fairy but she's willing to go along with the whole charade because she gets a lovely note each time she leaves a tooth under her pillow.

She doesn't even care about the money she gets, she is always anxious to read the note. This warms my heart so much. I love that she wants to believe in the magic of fairies and mermaids all things mythical. I mean, who's to say that mermaids and fairies aren't real? I'm not going to say that. Not ever.

If believing allows her to maintain her childhood even a little longer, I'm going to keep on writing those notes and leaving that money. I keep the notes for her too. I would like to figure out how to bind them into a book for her. It would be a great memory book for when she graduates from high school. Something, anyway.

Kids grow so fast. Let's let them be little as long as we can.