several people were generous and kind enough while i was away to take pictures and send me updates of what the girls were up to. here is some of what they did.
Monday, March 10, 2014
i decided to take off my first week day back home, keep the girls home from school and spend the entire day busily enjoying activities outside the house. i wanted to build memories, avoid housework, and spend time with them, trying just a bit to make up for lost time.
our day included stops at panera for bagels, the nature conservatory for playing and exploring plants, swirlberry for a froyo treat, the library for books, crosby's music class, and harper's ballet class. we made sure to take stops as needed to jump in the puddles, give kisses and hugs, and smile at the fact that we made it through 18 days without each other to hold.
Sunday, March 9, 2014
i am home. and as exhausted as the last 2 days have been, it's a good kind of exhaustion. i missed this. i missed being a mom and breaking up arguments and running from room to room to fetch this or fix that. i missed their never-ending hugs and kisses and i love you mom. i missed being home.
i drove home saturday morning, and knocked on the door. michael had told the girls that a babysitter was coming over for his doctor appointment. from the front porch, the first thing i heard was crosby's sweet little voice. mama! is that mama? michael opened the door, and i saw the brightest smile ever. mama! is mama home? how are you feeling? i dropped to my knees, swallowed her in a giant hug and kissed and kissed and kissed.
harper reacted a bit differently. she was more upset that michael had tricked her and told her a sitter was coming. she pouted on the step and resisted a hug. but she was excited to show me my poster, and the candy she bought for me as a homecoming present.
we didn't plan for much this weekend, nothing more than naps, playing, some light chores, reading, watching movies, dance parties, church, a trip to lowes, and just being together. at breakfast out sunday morning, michael casually asked how i was doing. i told him one word. happy.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
harper lost her first tooth today! and i missed it! i was so bummed, so i called in some troops. i quickly got on the phone with my friend, laura, a fellow photographer, and cried my eyes out to her. she is always so gracious and asked what she could do to help. i kindly asked if she would be willing to take a photo of harper's new grin. that sweet laura dropped everything and headed over to our house. she sent me these photos, and i am so very appreciative and grateful for her generosity and fabulous photo skills. ♥ ♥ ♥
what a beauty! can't wait to see it in person.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
i don't write these posts because i want others to feel bad or sorry for me. this blog started out as a way to capture our first child's days before we even met her, so that we could share with family and friends who couldn't be near us every day our daily pics and her quick growing up. i blog here so that in the future, my girls can look back and know my thoughts and our goings on from where we stand in this life now. sometimes my posts are happy and sometimes they're not. but they're real and they're mine and should others read along, i more than happily welcome that. it makes me happy that my words can impact someone else. i'm not a writer. i don't claim to be. i just love to write. michael and my mom both tell me they learn more from my blog than they do from talking to me, and i think that's because this is like my diary. several times in growing up, i started a diary, but never kept it up. a blog is so much more meaningful for me personally to maintain. and so i continue to document, because i truly enjoy doing so.
but i digress...
this last week has sort of been a roller coaster. in terms of how i am physically feeling, the worst seems to be behind me. an occasional headache here and there, some extra tiredness, an upset stomach or food not tasting the same has been about the worst of my week. not too bad. i started on a pretty high dose of synthroid over a week ago, but the doctor said it would be several weeks before i would notice much of a difference.
mentally and emotionally, though, that's where i've been hit hard. i miss my girls. a lot. so much. my heart aches when i think of them. when i think of what they're doing. of what i'm missing. it sounds very morbid, and i apologize, but sometimes, i feel as if i'm looking in on what it would be like if this cancer thing didn't go so well for me. luckily, i get to skype with the girls twice a day and they get to see me and see that i'm ok. i get to talk lots with michael and check in with how his 18 days of single parenting is going. but my mind wanders to dark places sometimes, and i really don't like it.
when i think of how close this could have gone from "the best cancer to have" to much worse than that, i crumble. last week tuesday, the day of my radiation but before i had my dose, i sat by myself in the waiting room of the cancer center pharmacy and i watched. i didn't bring my phone because i thought i was just coming for a quick anti-nausea pill, but instead i had to wait for a full zofran script to be filled. and i'm glad i did. i was surrounded by women and men who had been diagnosed with this awful disease, there by themselves or with family or friends. and there were still smiles. and sunshine was pouring in through the windows. i could see there was illness, but i could also see a lot of hope. it gave me some strength.
but sometimes, i put myself back in that doctor's office, the one where she left it up to me to have my thyroid nodule removed. and i chose to do so. or i put myself on the day they told me the pathologist changed his diagnosis to follicular carcinoma. and i chose to fight. or i put myself in the doctor's office on the day they told me the scans showed metastasis to a lymph node. and i got kicked in the gut but reminded myself that it hadn't gone any further. but other times, i can't stop the what-ifs.
i had my follow-up scans last week friday, which showed that the radiation is highly contained in the thyroid and in the lower lining of the stomach, right where it's supposed to be and kicking some cancer ass. i met with the nurse per my request to make sure that all these icky symptoms were normal, and was assured they were. so now i wait, with just over a week to go until i can be back home, and 2 months until my next scans.
i continue to receive so many e-mails, texts, cards, phone calls, gifts. i continue to be amazed beyond belief by the love and generosity and thoughtfulness of so many friends and family. i've received slippers and tea, candy and chocolates, scarves and body lotions, movies and magazines, journals and pencils, sunshine in a box. it brings so much happiness and smiles. and for all of it, i can't thank you enough. and in addition, all those wonderful friends who are keeping my husband and girls well fed, thank you, thank you, thank you.
so what have else have i been doing this week? i've been reading. writing thank yous. organizing files and paperwork that i took from home and just never found the time to do. sorting through the girls' school papers and artwork. watching movies. consuming all four seasons of downton abbey (oh. my. gosh. so good!)
spending time with my mom and dad, talking about life and love and parenting. skyping with the girls. popping home for a quick walk with the pups.
watching a movie on my laptop over facetime with my sister in england.
and finally getting the uninterrupted chance to go through the half a dozen boxes of mementos that my mom has held onto from grade school through college. i purged a lot, realizing i don't need to hold onto everything. my favorite box to go through was the one that held cards and notes and photo albums from my youth. it brought back smiles and tears and memories i'd forgotten. i also realized that every other card or note i read was from my mom, and how much love she shared with me, with all of us in our family, always. i think it kept me on the straight and narrow, honestly.
one card stuck with me...on the inside, it said, "the secret to life is anticipating the rainbows." all this that i've done so far has been an effort to keep my mind on purging this cancer from my body and on getting back home to be with my family again. anticipating that glorious rainbow at the end of all this rain. and we're down to single digits. one little week left. i can do this.