Monday, August 29, 2011

thankfulness...Day 68

Today I am thankful for Cool Whip!
I love that stuff...big scoop (usually larger than the scoop of ice cream)...and some chocolate and caramel syrup!  YUMMY!!!!

Have a great day
Love and sunshine

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thankfulness...Day 67

O.K. So this week was hard for me.  It was my first full week of school and it kicked my booty!  I was asleep by 9:00 every night...sometimes I was asleep by 7:00.  It was also the first week where I realized I am an assistant...not a teacher.  However...I still have several things for which I am thankful.
Wednesday...Sloppy Joes was parent's night at her school and I was one of the few parents who knew all about the changes to the AR program.  I realized that she really is very honest and up front with school info!

Friday...Miss Lorraine and hugs from Maa...I think Miss Lorraine will be willing to fill in any time my Mom isn't available to mother me.  

Today Maa brought something to my attention..and as I am realizing...knowing is half the battle.
Every time I lose my grip on this whole cancer process...I try to find something in my life I CAN control and blame my frustration on that.  The problem with this approach is that usually I cannot actually control the thing I think I can control AND I can't control cancer.  So I end up feeling lost and COMPLETELY out of control! 

So now I have a new approach...honesty...with myself above all else.  If I am tired...admit to myself that I am is not an admission of weakness...just an admission of the fact that I am not a superhero.  I am a human that has toxic chemicals pumped through her veins once a month and that might make me a little tired.  Maa also commented on the fact that even when I have a period of "down" time I always find a way to pull myself out of it and put a positive spin on whatever is bringing me down.  Thanks Maa...I needed that!  So I am thankful today for enlightenment.  I hope I can hold onto this for at least a few days!

Also, I think I will be posting a new activity I am working on for our classroom later this week.  I saw it on another blog "Musings of Me."  I want to ask her if I can post the revised activity here for teachers of younger children to use.  So stay tuned for that.  Have a great week!
Love and sunshine

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thankfulness...Day 66

Today I am thankful for little people.

Today was better than yesterday...I still have some friends in class that are struggling to get into the school routine, but everyday is a little better.  Because I am with the older group of children at my school, I have five of the children I taught my first year teaching at this school.  I think the first group of children I teach in each new place occupy a little piece of my heart and never fully move out.  I am so blessed to have these friends again.  Today during rest time, one friend woke up a little early.  The teacher still had several notebooks to fill out, so I went to my friend's mat to help her stay quiet for a little longer.  We visited for a minute and then she reached up and started twirling the little hairs at the back of my head.  Then she patted my back and said..."Miss Sarah...I love you!"  My heart melted into a puddle of goo.  It takes so little to recharge a teacher's battery.  Those three little words spoken in earnest do so much to keep me going.  No matter how hard the matter how many times I have to redirect the same behavior...if I can have just one moment like this one a is all worth it.  This interaction made it possible for me to see the humor in another friend making a tinkle fountain that reached the other side of the restroom.  I mean on some days if you can't laugh about what happens, someone might find you crying in the toilet!  

That's all I guess...have a great night
Sarah 65

I forgot to post yesterday...actually I fell asleep at around 8:00...yesterday was a difficult day.

Sometimes I think people are not really sure what to say to me.  I think they try to say helpful encouraging things and USUALLY they are successful.  Yesterday...not so much.  One of the therapists at school asked if I knew this particular woman from another school who is also battling ovarian cancer.  I do know of her and have sort of held her up as my personal success story.  Not a friend of a friend...not a family member of this one person I met once at church...someone I have met...personally...I have seen her...spoken to her...know that she actually exists.  Well this therapist informed me that they had found cancer in her she is now having to have radiation treatments.  I looked at her and said..."That really bums me out...I kind of look at her journey and hope to get to her place sometime soon." To which said therapist responds, "Well my son says she doesn't even look sick."  Gee thanks...that's least she looks good. 

So that kind of colored my day...but I had Dinner with Sherry to enjoy that night.  Robin and I got home from school and I took a few minutes to decompress in my room (I watched a couple of my favorite YouTube videos), then Aunt Sherry arrived and we had a great dinner.  She made meatloaf and I made my "Peach dump cake."  By the time she left the ugliness that had been the day so far was all but forgotten.  God always seems to smooth out the edges.  The crappiest day...turned  into the loveliest evening.  So yesterday I was thankful for Aunt Sherry...meatloaf...and peach dump cake covered with vanilla ice cream (YUM!)

Have a great afternoon

Saturday, August 20, 2011

thankfulness...Day 64

today I am thankful for perspective.

Robin wanted to watch the movie "Soul Surfer" so that's what we are doing.  This girl lost her arm to a shark and it caused a huge shift in her life.  I am finding that no matter what causes the loss, the grief and doubt is very similar.  I think I have spent alot of the last few months wondering what the possible plan could be for me.  There are so many things that I had to give appendix...a piece of my ability to have a classroom...but finally I can see some of the things I have been given.  An opportunity to work with a great teacher and great friend....a closer healthier relationship with my daughter...a rockin' short free from the worry of accidental pregnancy.  I'm not to the acceptance part of the grief process yet...but I can see something positive in all the mess.  I still ask God questions...lots and lots of questions.  I talk more to God in general these days.   No far...but I'm always looking and listening for something.  

People ask sometimes why I don't go to an ovarian cancer support group.  One reason is that the average age for this type of cancer is around 65.  I can't really see me sitting up in the middle of a quilting bee conversing about what makes chemo difficult for me.  That sounds so awful...but I'm also afraid of what I might hear.  I look to the internet for info sometimes and am terrified by the stories I find.  I don't want to open myself up on a weekly basis for a new set of terrifying stories.  My aunt suggested that I look into al-anon.  That could be another group of people with the unique loss skill set to help me understand the larger picture.  I think the key isn't having the exact same type of is just having a loss in general and the ability to empathize with the people around you.  I think I might be finding a way through all this.  I'll keep you posted! 

Quote of the day...from the movie "Soul Surfer"
"I wouldn't change what happened to me, because without it I wouldn't have this chance.  This chance with all of embrace more people than I ever could have when I had two arms."

Friday, August 19, 2011

thankfulness...Day 63

today I am thankful for my best friend.  I'm watching "Something Borrowed" and there is a scene about lifelong besties...they dance around to "Push It"...sleep in strawberry shortcake sleeping bags...and fully understand the working pieces of the other person's mind...because they were there for the forming moments of said mind.  thank you Candice!  thank you for calling me the day after chemo even if I don't answer the phone, just so I know you are there and you care!  Thank you for keeping me actively in your life...thank you for loving me!  You make my life richer...from kick the can and neighborhood hide and photo scavenger hunts for extra large guitars.  

thankfulness...Day 62

whoops...missed a day

didn't miss a day of being thankful...just missed a day of typing it out!  Yesterday I spent time being thankful for handy family members and my mom dropping in unannounced!  I poured water all over my steering wheel on the way home...but I really didn't think much about it.  I was so pooped from school, I went inside my house, changed into my jammies...and parked it on my sofa.  2.5 HOURS mom comes in and there something going off in your garage?  I was like...I don't know...I've been here since we got home.  I went out to the garage...and was greeted by an electrical burning smell...a god awful noise...and lots of smoke.  My car was off...but making the most terrible noise.  I cracked the ignition and the noise stopped...I turned the car off...the noise returned.  I think maybe I shorted out my horn...and let me just say this...the horn blaring NONSTOP is terrifying and awful.  However...I have a very handy father and uncle.  I got the honking to stop, and my dad came by to pull the fuse out under the hood.  Then today my uncle called and let me know that the circuits should dry out without leaving any damage.  Tip of the day.....DO NOT pour water onto your steering wheel...EVER!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

thankfulness...Day 61

Today I am thankful for my new job position.  I am getting to see 5 of the kiddos I had my first year at this school finish the program and graduate.  We had open house tonight and I got to visit with parents.  It was great to visit with the parents I knew already and get to introduce myself to the new parents.  I get to do what I love lucky am I?!?  So that's all...I'm thankful for my job!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

thankfulness...Day 60

Yesterday I was thankful for salvageable Fireball Snow Cones.  My dad bought me a JUMBO snow cone on Sunday and I was unable to finish it.  I put it in the freezer, but I didn't think it would refreeze well.  I was right.  It took some work but I was able to free it from its styrofoam prison and mush it up with a spoon.  So without having to drive anywhere I was able to eat another snow cone.  I still feel as if I have a belly full of rocks...but I hope that by tomorrow...rock stomach will be gone. thankfulness day 61 will be up later today.  
love and sunshine,

Friday, August 12, 2011

thankfulness...Day 59

TGIF!  I have spent most of today snoozing with my puppy in bed.  Chemo still makes my stomach go all wrong and my legs feel a little jelly like.  I am still basking in the glory that is an end date to these feelings...hopefully for a very long time.  My CA-125 went up, but I still have my docs words "No matter what your CA says we will stop in April.  Her thoughts are,   I am young, I have a young child, I have a job that makes a difference in other peoples lives, and I'm not ready to leave yet.  She says this is the best way to keep me around for as long as possible.  With the degree of cancer they found in my original surgery...I did not think she knew what to expect from me.  After April the true waiting game begins.  Up until then every month I have had a blood check and a status check on the CA-125.  Once I go into follow up mode the monthly fade back to every three months.  If after 2 years of every three months I do not have a recurrence...chances are better that when it does come back it will still respond to the chemo drugs.  So for now I am looking only a little way into the future.  The part of my future that for some period of time will NOT include chemo! WHOOT WHOOT!  I love all the women who surround me with love and hilarious menopause jokes.  Without you ladies this whole mess of chemo crap would have been really hard to take.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

thankfulness...Day 58

Today I am beyond thankful!  In April I will complete chemo.  Even if my chemo is not in a normal range with 3 clear CT scans, and one clear PET scan I get to be finished!  I can't doctor believes we will have beaten any hiding cancer cells into submission by then.  At that point I will be able to switch over to follow up...meaning I will come in every three months for blood work and a check up.  Finally something concrete to think about...I will actually complete the most rigorous part of this journey in 9 months.  Last year flew by, and I am sure being back at work and still full time mothering this one will too!  That's all I have to say...YAY!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

thankfulness...Day 57

Today I am thankful to have a full school day under my belt.  I thin this is going to be an amazing year!  Kristen (lead teacher) and I stayed after school to plan some of the activities for the coming weeks.  It is so nice to be working with someone as quirky and silly as me.  Planning goes so much more quickly when there are 2 brains to pull everything together. 
almost the best three words in the world!  Possibility...excitement and school supplies all rolled into one!

The kiddos were amazing today!  They all seem to have such a sweet nature and we had very few behavior kinks.  I know it was the first day and there is always a type of honeymoon period...but these children are just so lovely.  They are funny and smart, creative and logical...but most of all they are so loving!  Not only to the teachers, but also to each other.  Starting at the beginning with them and getting to build a relationship from going to be an adventure.  I have missed having a group of children to call my own.  I may not be the lead teacher, but I think in a few weeks when I have settled into my role...this will be better than perfect!

I have another treatment tomorrow.  I guess we will discuss my PET and I have a few really tough questions to ask.  I try to remember that all will work out according to God's plan.  I can't imagine that God's plan would involve me dying.  I have way too much left to accomplish.  I guess I should get busy.  I have a few teaching activities to get ready for next week.  I am hoping with my whole heart that this treatment is kinder to me than the last one.  I really want to be back at work on Tuesday.  I missed work last year...but now that I have had a taste of being back in the gives me a reason to kick all the bad juju out of my system!
whatever the plan....I surrender it to your hands!

Oh on another of my activities is to find real world objects that are shaped like an oval...we discussed several things today...watermelon, pecans, mirrors, kiwi, rugs..even the letter O...then Kristen busts out with a football.  I asked what type of football she had been using.  In hindsight that was kind of harsh.  She took it well and we had a goo laugh. I am just wondering if anyone else would consider a football oval shaped.  I am willing to admit when I'm wrong...and I have no idea what shape a football is if it is not an oval...but it does not look ovaly to me.  help help!
the football...
the OVAL
Quote of the day:
what about screaming...WHILE enjoying the ride?!?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

thankfulness...Day 56

Today I am thankful for little people.  Tomorrow is the first day of school and even though it takes some work to get a classroom ready...I can't wait to be back in action with some of my favorite little people.  Not only do I get to hang out with some of the coolest kids friend called me to let me hear a new phrase her son learned today.  In the sweetest little toddler voice I hear..."Jesus...Oh...Jesus"  I lost it!  Tiny humans are hilarious.  Then I checked facebook and another friend had posted a peek-a-boo video filled with baby laughter.  It is impossible to be unhappy while listening to a baby laugh. I am thankful for children great and small!  That is all!

Monday, August 8, 2011

thankfulness...Day 55

Hello friends...
Today I am thankful to be in my house with Robin and Rosie.  Yesterday I spent almost 12 hours driving home from San Antonio...but without the final hour of that drive I would never have learned about "fairygnomes."  What are "fairygnomes" you may ask?  Well they are the mythical creatures that hover around a man or woman sending out scents to draw a person of the opposite sex toward them.  You may think they are called pheromones...but NOPE...after 11 hours in the car they are in fact "fairygnomes!"  I myself picture the gnome part hanging around male type person's feet...and the fairy part flitting around the fairer sexes head.  Now if they encounter a person they might more than a friend..wink wink...they fairy/gnomes spring into action.  They gnome counterpart simply tickles the desired woman's feet...the fairy must be MUCH less subtle!!!  Her wand is shaped like a mallet and it is three times her dainty size.  She uses said mallet to knock the male object of the lady's affection about the head and shoulders...anything more demure and he might not get the point!  I have giggled off and on all day about "fairygnomes."  BTW this little nugget of pure joy came directly from my mother.  Delirium had definitely snuck up on us... Oh well...we had a tough situation and we made it through by laughing and sharing stories!  Have a great day.  So I am also thankful for long drives and great company!

I know this post is sort of ridiculous...but really google images even has a fairy with a hammer!
I think this saucy fellow could help me fall in love!

love and sunshine!

p.s. I start school tomorrow so be expecting some great teacher idea posts! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thankfulness...Day 54

Hello blog I am thankful for clear PET scans!  I know yesterday's thankful thought was an excercise in NON-thankfulness...but today is better.  I am seriously considering going to an al-anon meeting.  I have been somewhat hesitant to attend an ovarian cancer support group, because with all the positives...I am afraid people might also share some scary things that I am not fully prepared to hear yet (i.e. I went into remission but 1 month later here I am in chemo again!).  I have read a few al-anon daily reflection type books and I agree with all I read.  I think I could probably sub cancer for alcohol in any situation there.  I would be honest with everyone there about why I am in attendance and hope they would accept me. I need support from people who feel as powerless as I do...and I think al-anon might be the place to find those people minus scary cancer reccurence stories. 

I also had an epiphany last night.  I think I enjoy teaching as much as I do, becasue I like to feel in control of SOMETHING.  I am the mother of an on the verge of teen years girl...I have cancer...ummm...yeah that's I was clinging to the control I could exert in the classroom by the tips of my fingernails.  I loved that I could make the plan for everyday of the week.  This is what we will do in art...this is what time we will have circle...this is what time everyone will try to use the potty.  It really didn't matter to me that by the light of day and presence of children my plans would fall to pieces. 
I could even end up with this painted on the rear of my pants and hold it together.

I had exerted control over something in my life and it was good.  I think that was the main heartbreak in surrendering my classroom teacher role for this year.  That one tiny shred of control was my life raft!  So now I think I may make a crafty plan for each week with Robin.  I think my aunt and I will be experimenting in the kitchen on Monday nights (I think a lesson plan would work for those two things).  If I have learned anything on this journey it is that it is sometimes necessary to flip a situation and make the negatives positive.  Without the full weight of classroom teacher on my shoulders...I can take some time and learn how to be a non disaster in the kitchen...I can make use of my evenings doing fun things with Robin.  So consider this negative FLIPPED!

So in summary...I am thankful for clear PET arrivals at a FANTABUOLUS resort...a hotel room that overlooks the waterpark...and all the unexpected blessings that will be coming my way over the next few months! 

Quote of the day:
so true...I look harder now and there are too many gorgeous things to count!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

thankfulness...Day 53

Today I am thankful for radioactive dye and PET scan machines...sort of.  I had to lie still for 30 minutes and sit still (not reading...I still don't get that part) for an hour before the test.  Like I said yesterday forced stillness gives a person a great opportunity to think.  Ya know what else makes you think?  Psychotherapy!  I am also thankful for my therapist.  He gives me great information and helps me understand how to process all the emotions attached to my diagnosis, treatment and cancer process in general.  But I digress...

Today the doctor's office called to let me know that the scan showed no sign of recurrence or metastatic disease.  I should be bouncing off the walls...I should be so happy I can't keep it all inside.  So why am I feeling so apathetic about this.  I would never hope to have a recurrence!  I am truly thankful for every extra day I have to live this life!  I just wanted an answer for the turtle slow decrease in my CA125.  I wanted a doctor to point at a cloudy spot (or whatever cancer looks like on a PET scan) and say...THERE it we can change your meds.  Now we can change your we can do whatever necessary to eradicate this hellish disease and get you on your way to a full recovery.  No such luck...I get to continue poisoning my body...missing days of a job I love...missing out on doing the day to day things that come with teaching...watching someone else teach in my classroom while I assist in a different room.  My CA125 may never stabilize...I might get to continue with chemo for goodness knows how long.  

For the most part I roll with the punches...I try to stay on the positive side of the street...I try to direct all my anger and frustration at the tiny remaining cancer cells floating around somewhere in my body (they must be there somewhere, right).   However, this is getting ridiculous...3 CT scans (all clear)...3 lovely lady doctor exams (also clear)...1 PET scan (also clear).  I don't want to quit and have a recurrence 3 weeks from now...but where exactly are these sneaky little cancer monsters hiding?

Oh yeah...this is supposed to be my thankfulness post.  Today I am thankful for clear PET scans...heart to hearts with my sweet Robin...her loving open nature and willingness to talk to me about therapist, and his ability to define and regulate my confusing emotions...finally my Aunt Maa, and her  direct, no nonsense approach to my disease and all that goes along with it!

Quote of the day:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

thankfulness...Day 52

Today I am thankful for my continued ability to breathe in and out.  I spent a couple of hours today in silence with nothing to distract me.  I am driven by distraction...meaning...I look for things to distract my brain from what I have swirling around inside.  I had a PET scan today to check for microscopic cancer cells.  For an hour before the test I had to sit in a dimly lit room and think.  There was a sign that said NO CELL PHONE use of any kind...and get this...NO reading.  I get the cell phone..I mean it could mess up the scanners or whatever...but NO READING...HUH?!?  It turned out to be a blessing...I had time to talk with God.  I am really working on turning things over...thy will be done and all that jazz.  So my prayers went something like...whatever you need this scan to show (or not show)...I'm ready.  I have a strong support system, and whatever comes of this they will be here for me.  I have to wait 48 hours to get the results of the scan...but surprisingly I am having very little anxiety about it.  It's like a switch clicked off in my brain once the scan was complete and I just haven't really thought about the matter which way it goes.  Robin and I found humor in the fact that, I was radioactive for 5 hours today.  I did come home and check in a dark bathroom to see if I was glowing...I wasn't...sort of a let down for both of us.  One thing I have realized over the course of this thankfulness excercise is...some of the changes I have to make will hurt me...some of the changes that are being made around me because of my illness will hurt me...I can choose to wallow in that pain or get up and enjoy my time with family.  It is getting easier and easier to let go of what hurts and rejoice in the time I have been given with the people I love.  Sorry to be so sappy...comes with 2 hours of introspection, I guess
Good Night...friends

Quote of the day:

Monday, August 1, 2011

thankfulness...Day 51

Today I am thankful for completed checklists.  I started the day with about 10 things that I needed to get done before we leave for San Antonio on Thursday.  I wasn't sure how I was going to get everything done...and at about 12:00 I had a mini meltdown and ALMOST threw in the towel.  My sweet Robin helped me push through the tired and finish the list.  Sometimes it is nice to have my own personal cheerleader.  I do think it's mom can try to push the positive spin on me and all that does is make me grouchy.  When Robin says the same thing in that sweet little voice..I can't help but listen.  I also think about how everything I do (or don't do) is teaching her how to behave.  Things that I would never do on my own...I will push myself to finish because I know she is watching.  

She also does this little awkward giggle, if she is saying something that she thinks might not go over very well.  It gets on my last nerve and I could not figure out where she learned this AWFUL habit.  Guess what...(finger points to self)...I have noticed over the last few days...I do the exact same thing.  If I am concerned that what I just said might not be the popular opinion, or it is just something that I have difficulty saying out loud ... I add... an... awkward... giggle.  GEEZ....sometimes I love that she has so many of my personality traits...this IS NOT one of those times.  So now I have to work on keeping my awkward giggles to myself...and it is HARD!!!  Oh well...maybe 30 days from now I will be thankful that the awkward, dorky giggle has been eradicated!

Quote of the Day: