Saturday, August 21, 2010

cancer week

Cancer week is almost over. Two years ago today was the day before port surgery, the day before we started chemo, the day before the beginning of who the hell knows. Two years ago today was the worst ekg in the history of ekg. Two years ago today was the most amazing echo tech and the smoothest procedure up to that point for L. Two years ago today was a 4 hours pass to leave the hospital - one of only two she would receive during the 6 months. We went to TGI Friday's because we didn't know a thing about W-S. And guess what? It was a blast. Papa Tom and Uncle Kevin came. I HATE that my mom missed it. She had M and we had no idea we would be getting a pass. L ate cheesy yumminess. We were expecting her appetite to fall off the next day with chemo (little did we know she'd be a chemo warrior princess). But clearly I am digressing.

Cancer week is almost over. And it has mostly been a week like any other. Except I have been full of tears like I haven't been since the hospital. Some of this is because of friends who have relapsed. Some of this is because of hormones (no, I'm not pregnant). Some of this is because I had three hours alone in the car to think way too much.

And as cancer week winds down, school continues to go well. We are doing a math project that involves the seasons. We took a picture of the kids in front of this tree and will re-create it through out the year as the seasons change. L (who generally is not a fan of having her picture taken) consented since "it's schoolwork!". M is just happy to get to wear a dress outside. Life is good. Despite the fun we are having, I find myself constantly fretting over the fact that L will not be in kindergarten. Oh, life could be so much more normal and simple. But then I would be doubting that decision for a million reasons too. And she is really happy to skip down the homeschooling path hand-in-hand.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I'm awake tonight. 2:37:28 am ... not atypical.

The reason I'm awake is that I had a headache. And to avoid it turning into a migraine, I took Excedrin. And now I'm wide awake, but, thankfully headache free.

The reason I'm explaining why I'm awake is to point out that I'm not awake because today is the 2 year cancerversary.

Though, I will freely admit that my Excedrin-interrupted sleep was punctuated by intense, but undefinable fear about the children's safety and well-being. Each time I awoke (until I finally gave up and logged on), I had a sense of either panic or dread. Hmm...

At any rate, today is 2 years to the day that we found out Lindsay might have leukemia. I say "might". The doctors said, "probably" and "almost certainly". Matt and I were in total denial. I just knew it was going to be Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or some bizarre virus that her body would beat the hell out of. Well, shit.

The interesting thing about leukemia is that we "count" from the day she was diagnosed. Which makes this horrible day a cause for celebration. Counting is relevant because the farther away you are from diagnosis, the better your odds are. Two years out means your odds of relapsing at about 5%. Three years out means you're likely to stay in remission. Ten years out means secondary cancers are much much less likely. 20 years out means, "Hey, 20 years ago I had cancer. Isn't that f-ing crazy? Let's have a glass of wine and roll our eyes over how ridiculously terrified my parents were."

Happy cancerversary. We won't be celebrating... any more than we do every day :-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Embracing Embarrassment

I've been thinking a lot about embarrassment lately. Lindsay tells me I've embarrassed her from time to time. Mostly after an academic exercise. When she figures something out quickly. I may simply smile. I may mention her success to Matt or my mother. "Mom," eyes rolling "you're embarrassing me." It's one of the few times she whispers.

Embarrassment. What is it? What is its utility?

I spent a little time online looking up the word, to be sure I was spelling it correctly. I found a blog about a spelling bee entitled "Spelling Bee Embarassment". Without a hint of irony. But I digress.

What is the value of embarrassment? And why is the pleasure someone takes in our accomplishment both rewarding and painful? Even at the age of five!

As a teenager, I remember repeatedly feeling that my father was trying to embarrass me. In retrospect, I don't think I was wrong. I also remember feeling embarrassed by my mother, though I don't believe that was her goal. At that time, I vowed to never attempt to embarrass my kids. But how can I help but smile when L succeeds at something? When she relishes a discovery? When she sings her heart out. And if I don't smile? If I don't enjoy her joy? Will that harm her more than the embarrassment of my pride?

I imagine she would just die of embarrassment if she knew how I go on and on in this blog!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Late Night Penny Math

L could not sleep tonight. Perhaps it was a later-than-usual dinner. She ate a veggie burger, pasta salad ("it's even good cold" ... hmm, that should tell you something about last night's dinner), chips, carrots, and water. Then went swimming. Maybe all that just-before-bed excitement was too much. Whatever the cause, she kept getting up - asking for water, hugs, you name it. Eventually I asked her if she just wanted to hang out. There's nothing work than lying in bed awake.

So we talked and had some nice mommy, daddy, first child time without the whirling dervish (sound asleep after a wild and crazy day). I asked her if she wanted to do some math. We really hadn't done any during the day. We'd worked on a story, picking out words (word find with matching), and other language arts type activities. You would have thought I'd asked her if she wanted ice cream. SO I broke out the pennies.

We've been doing lots of math on paper. Mostly because she enjoys it and ideas aren't hard to come by. It's everything we did in school. Straight up arithmetic, patterns/ sequencing, greater than less than. But I haven't been so good with "manipulatives". I still remember the first time I heard the word "manipulatives". It sounded like such a made-up teacher word. Like, "I need a 5 syllable word for 'things you hold'" ... "ooh! 'MANIPULATIVES'". Anyway. Silly name. Good concept. And yet I never think about manipulatives (except when we're eating and end up doing "pretzel math" or "M&M math"... yum).

Tonight was penny math. We ventured into division (without calling it division), and Lindsay took right to it. It will probably be a long time before we divide on paper, but dividing pennies into equal groups was a fun start to what can be a challenging concept. I even gave her 5 pennies and said, "Divide these into 2 equal groups". She made 2 groups of 2 then quickly rejected the 5th. How nice that she didn't get stressed out by that extra penny. So we called it a "leftover" and said we'd better eat it in a day or two or it would go bad!

Can't wait to see what unfolds tomorrow!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Story Starters

Once up on a time there was a witch who ...

was mean. The she freaked every body out. THE END.

I once knew a

M: witch,
L: that went to the Arctic and scared polar bears.
M: And the witch ate her breakfast of piping porridge.
L: She didn't have any hat.
M: And she didn't have any eyes.
L: And she did have a face that didn't have any eyes.
L: She had purple hair.
M: And a note.
L: She ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She went to the Arctic and scared polar bears away. But the best thing she liked was getting to watch TV all day. THE END

Down in the village I saw a

L: donkey.
M: There was a princess named Belle.

(then a big fight ensued over a plate ... oy)