Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Newest Vlog

Yesterday my infusion was ROUGH.  The extra time I spent in bed/bathroom/head over a bucket, gave me some time to think.  Mostly I thought about how I could weasel my way out of feeling so horrible, but I also thought a little bit about the term disabled.  I was recently approved for disability through SSDI.  Don't get me wrong I am super thankful about this approval, but with it carries this stigma that I am now a drain on all the other healthy tax paying americans in the country.  Just as an aside....I also paid taxes (maybe not very much) but still and I contributed to the Social Security pot.  I understand I did not contribute near enough to keep me in disability checks for my whole life, but if you think telling me you are so glad to see your tax dollars at work for someone you know...could you skip it?!?

I also spent time thinking about all the ways I am perfectly able that cannot be measured with money.  I am still able to do a mean french braid (or two) for The Bug in the mornings.  I can still give her a cuddle if she has a nightmare.  I can still write on the blog.  I can still pin a trillion ideas on pinterest...(But NOW I have the time to actually make some of the things I pin.  The list goes on and on.  I also recorded a new YouTube video today.  This one is if you feel up to it...this is your tax dollars at work!   :)
To the moon and back,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Today I am thankful that I am ambulatory! I am able to get where I want to go on my own 2 legs. When I have chemo I am surrounded by people who have had that basic right taken away. I had been forced to surrender many things to cancer, but not my legs. So today I am thankful for walking not rolling into cycle 2 of my new chemo!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

When to push forward...

when to pull back.  This constant battle...I think sums up teen parenting.  I want to give the Bug some independence, but I also want to help steer her away from scary bad things.  She started a new school last week and it is so different not being in the same building with her.  Our first year here...if she needed a pencil...forgot her lunch...needed help with her math (yeah right)...I was there.  For her 5th level year I was out of commission, but my aunt and my mother were there to help her.  Sixth level...she started to pull away.  She would vacillate between wanting to be able to blame me when something was missing...and pushing me away when I would try to step in to help.  She wanted me as a scapegoat for mistakes, but wanted to bask in the glory of successes on her own.  I was used to a level of comfort and a level of intel from her teachers.  Sometimes I think they might over share...because I was in the building.  The line between peer and parent gets VERY blurry when people are colleagues.

Like I said this year starts a brand new chapter.  The Bug chose a summer reading book about a girl that moves around quite a bit with her Dad. With every move "Beth" recreates herself, and starts over.  The Bug told me she really identified with "Beth."  So I get that she wants to start fresh with her new school.  She gets twitchy when my Mom and I ask questions about her day.  I know now that the school website kicks serious heiney, so I really don't have to ask her very many questions. Everything is on the website for me to see.  I had a choice to get progress reports...daily...weekly...or not at all.  The lesson plans for every class are posted, along with the homework. There is a roster for each class.  I almost felt a little intrusive...finding out so much information without exchanging a word with the Bug.

The biggest struggle right now is finding balance.  If I show up too early to pick her "embarrasses her...I mean I'm piddling MOM and you are right there!!!" Well pardon me.  Notes come home about her needing a folder for a couple of classes...try touching base about the folders. "MOOOOOOOOOM please don't come to my school and ask a bunch of questions.  I have it under control." She had homework over the weekend to finish, and I let her take her time over a couple of days getting it finished.  She comes bursting into my room..."MOOOOOOM what in the world is a Fire Blanket?!?"  I asked her what she thought it might be.  "Well....I guess it might be a blanket to help with fires?"  She was willing to accept help on that one.  I think I will be executing this intricate balancing act for quite a bit longer, but I know it could be sooooooo much worse.
why exactly does the boy HAVE to dress up like a girl?
Vintage illustrations....sooooo funny.

Any hints to raising a teenage girl?
To the moon and back,


Filling My Bucket

Next week I get to fall under the chemo rock for a little bit, but this weekend I get to fill my bucket with thoughts, laughs, hugs, and other amazing things to help me be strong and keep fighting.  We celebrated my Dad's 65th birthday as a family...we ate hot dogs...sang an out of tune version of "Happy Birthday," and we ate amazing cake.  
I made a video that I will link below.  It is all about positivity.  For the last week I have struggled with the positive side of my life.  I can usually find a joke hiding in whatever is holding me down.  Last week nothing seemed funny.  I was crabby with the people who love me the most...and I was hypersensitive with the Bug.  My chemo has made me tired...really tired.  The blood cells that help my blood clot are if I blow my nose too forcefully I get a lovely nose bleed.  I am bruising like a peach, and my stomach didn't start feeling better until yesterday.  Even now...I am struggling with digging a  joke out of that steaming pile of YUCK! 
Whatever...I am not making this blog for is to remember there is ALWAYS a shovel.  Sometimes my hole feels too deep and too dark to dig my way out.  This week was one of those times. Then I found my family will always be my shovel.  It is impossible to be sad around my niece and nephew. They are 4 and 18 months and filled with the type of energy possessed only by small children and maybe adults on meth.  No matter...They helped me come out from under my rock.  I might have needed to go to bed after each visit, but I wouldn't trade any piece of this weekend for the world.  
So in summary...if you can't find a way to pull your chin up...let it stay down for a little bit.  I'm not talking about a full blown pity party...but not ALWAYS having your own drum out to lead a parade is just fine.  
For now I am I surrounded by family and I am soaking up all the love and laughter I can handle.  That way, maybe I can avoid a bed ridden pity party.  Have fun this something you wouldn't usually do.  
To the Moon and Back


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Easy Sundays

I love easy Sundays.  I get to enjoy time with my favorite women (Mom, Maa, and the Bug,)  look up fun crafts on Pinterest, and maybe just maybe do a craft.  Today is one of those Sundays.  Maa and I headed to Joann's and I picked up some supplies so I can finally do some of my paint chip projects from Pinterest (I will post pics later). We also went to a vintage store called "Junker Val's."  The fun of this store is the vintage jewelry table.  It honestly looks like my grandmother's jewelry box exploded.  It is easy to spend hours looking for the perfect matching pair of earrings.  After creating 3 matched sets with a necklace and earrings we headed home.  Now I am settled in at home with a large Coke from McDonald's and a box of Cheese-Its.  The Bug and I plan on watching the Hunger Games...I hope to stay awake, but I can't promise anything.  
Enjoy your Sunday!
To the moon and back,

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Melted Crayon Tutorial!

I have pinned at least 6 different types of these melted crayon projects on Pinterest.  I decided to try out make one in real life today.  Then I thought I would go ahead and make it into a tutorial!  I mean I was making it already and I had my iPhone!
Start with at least 20 crayons.  The colors are up to you.
I of course chose to do rainbow colors!

Strip the crayons of their paper.  Some are easier than others.

Here is one of the easy ones!

I tried putting the crayons on my canvas, but I realized I
wouldn't have much room for the melting run-off.
My canvas is a 12"x12" from Hobby Lobby.

I cut each crayon to 2.5 inches!

Here are all the discarded wrappers.
Anybody have any ideas about using this paper.

I used a flashlight as a guide for the circle in the middle

I tried gluing the crayons down with the flashlight still in the
middle, but all I ended up doing was gluing the crayons to the flashlight.
When I tried to pull up the flashlight half of my crayons came up too.....
WHOOPS!  I think a light pencil line would be fine next time around!

In the end it they still ended up glued
to the canvas. Now to add heat!

Careful with the melting.  I got the crayons melting before
tilting it up.  I also kept the hairdryer on the low setting.

I also worked on small sections and then
I would turn the canvas so I wouldn't
keep melting the other crayons

How much you allow the crayons to run is entirely up to you.
I like my canvas drenched in color (surprise, surprise). 

Here is the finished product.I feel the need to say TAHDAH!!!
It makes me smile when I look at it.

Here is my heating tool. Just a simple cheap hairdryer
with a Hi and Low setting and a cold button!

So there you go.  If I left anything out...ask me what I did.  I might remember....heehee!
To the moon and back my friends,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Cycle one - two thirds complete

I went today for the second treatment in my first cycle.  Next week I have a week off.  I am super excited, because Robin starts school next week!

As treatments go...last week was kind of rough.  I think I will have to get back in the mindset that ALL foods will make me nauseates, so I just need to pick ones that will nourish my body the best and deal with the fallout.  Case in point...last week I lived on cereal, rice, apple juice, and cinnamon raisin bread.  By Saturday night I was hungry, but I know if when I put in bland I was nauseated, if I try to put in normal I am asking for trouble.  I quickly shooshed the voice in my head saying...have a sub sandwich...try chicken salad...anything but...PIZZA!  I couldn't stop nausea wracked body yearned for pizza.  So I got pizza.  It was soooo good.  I'm not sure pizza has ever tasted that good.  the good feelings lasted for about 3 hours and then my stomach felt bruised.  The next morning the pizza made a return appearance.  OH WELL...I tried. 

That is the point of this post...there is some moment when it doesn't really matter if you know your decision is bad.  Sometimes it just has to be made.  So many of my questionable decisions have landed me in the place necessary to launch some facet of my life.  I had a baby at 22...she pushed my lazy butt in college.  The Bug decided she didn't want to come home with my family after an evacuation.  She wanted to stay in Fort Worth, live with Maa, and start a new school.  That decision facilitated my move to Fort Worth! Without my move to Fort Worth...I might not have caught my cancer at all!  I will continue to eat the metaphorical pizza.  I hope sometimes it goes my way, but if it doesn't, oh well...realllllllly good pizza is worth sooooo much more than a small bowl of rice chex!

To the moon and back my friends,

Friday, August 10, 2012

my chemo story

This is a summary of the drugs I have used so far.  It's kind of a long list!

to the moon and back,

Chemo Bomb

Alright so I think the chemo bomb has officially gone off in my body. I am thankful for my bed, Tylenol PM, and the Bug being willing to hang out in my bed watching YouTube.
To the moon and back,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New ride

Start a new set of drugs today. Might be out of commission for a while...who knows might be very active here, because I won't be doing much else. Thankful there are still drugs out there to kill the cancer!
To the moon and back,

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Old Route 66 - Heroine Vintage and Eddie

The Bug and I were obsessed with finding old Route 66 in Amarillo.  I know the guidebooks and the comments online made it sound totally lame, but we needed to see for ourselves.  There were lots and lots of biker bars, biker dealerships, and bikers.  No offense, but if I am riding with the top down in a lane next to about 5 harleys...there is no chance for conversation.  No worries, that only happened once and to get away from the noise we pulled over...parked and found an amazing vintage shop to browse.

 The Bug wanted to know why they would put drugs in  the name of their shop, and such a terrible drug.  I explained that heroine could also mean a female hero in a story.  That changed her thoughts about this place immediately.  She couldn't wait to get inside to see what a vintage female hero would have for her to find.  The store is lovely.  Everything has been displayed to get the most bang for their buck.  Colors are grouped together.  Eras are grouped together.  Items of clothing are grouped together (they had 4 mink stoles in the dressing room).  More than anything they had the laid back vintage vibe.  No rush...nobody following me around wondering what exactly I was going to purchase and why in GAHD's name had I not made said purchase yet.

The clerk...dressed adorably in clothes that obviously came from the shop...chilled behind the counter listening Sinatra...Dean Martin..and even some really smooth jazz.  The music urges a shopper to stick around and really dig into their product.  Dig I did...I looked around and realized at least one reason I felt so at home in this store.  All the clothes had been sorted by color.  It was a rainbow spectrum playground all for me.
silver things

Look Aunt Karla.....lots and lots of thermoses!   After our little dress up The Bug noticed the kitten and was totally smitten.  I have to say he was a love worthy furbie.  He was playful but not too rough and he really enjoyed a cuddle.  I know he was the shop mascot, but I totally wanted to smuggle him out in my bag. His name was Eddie!  

Our budget being what it is...we did not make any purchases...but if you live in the Amarillo by and give them a shot!  It is totally worth your time.  I think there might even be a little cafe where you can wet your whistle a few store fronts away!

Heroine Vintage
3207 West 6th Avenue
Amarillo, Texas

I found out they have an Etsy site also...go have a look 

Today I am thankful for the discovery of this gem on route 66.  

Friday, August 3, 2012

This star won't go out.

I spent the majority of April and May last year watching VlogBrothers videos on YouTube.  They are extraordinary men and I laughed or learned with each video.  John Green...a New York Times Best Selling author is one of the vlogbrothers, and he had a friendship with a girl named Esther.  Esther had cancer, and was not going to beat it.  She got a wish from the make a wish foundation and that wish was to meet John Green.  They met...ate pizza...laughed and talked.  After their meeting John decided after her death they would celebrate Esther day every year on her birthday (August 3rd).   He asked her how she wanted them to commemorate her birthday.  She thought for a while, and then decided she would like her day to celebrate love.  Not sexual love...familial..plutonic...friendly love.  She wanted everyone to tell those most important in their lives..."I LOVE YOU!"  It sounds easy, but there are always certain people that you love unconditionally, but the words just don't come as easily.  She really wanted you to tell those people.  

So today I am sending out text messages to all the people in my life that I love.  I might tell you everyday already.  I might close each phone call with those words.  I might only scribble it once a year in a birthday card.  No matter how many times I say/write is completely true.  I don't know if having cancer makes me want to emote all over those around me...but this year...consider yourself Esthered.  

to the moon and back,

Thursday, August 2, 2012

people are amazing!

so last week I posted my blog about no more numbers...then I posted a blog with my number.  It is stupid to believe my heart won't do little back flips when it drops...and I won't feel like I have been punched in the stomach when it goes up.  That is the name of my game.  Let me get into the amazing people part.

rewind to high school...a slightly awkward period for me...alright alright an ENORMOUSLY awkward period for me.  I didn't have many friends...and they were in general the people who existed on the fringe of my high school.  I did have a few mainstream folks...mostly drama peeps.  Not to say that I was hyper involved in was really 2 girls that convinced me to even audition for the spring musical Lil' Abner. I have remained in contact with these friends through facebook.  I got to watch Elvis marry one of them in Las Vega, while I watched the other become a great mother.  Can I really say they were my mainstream friends if one of them ended up in Vegas being married by Elvis and having wedding photos taken in the old Las Vegas Neon Graveyard?  You betcha!

It is this girl that has sent me little cards or other types of pick me ups along the way.  I know she was a little older than The Bug when her mom had to battle breast cancer.  Her mom did what I did.  When the hair started coming out she shaved it off, and rarely wore a wig.  So this friend has seen the cancer beast up close an personal.  I am so lucky she was signed onto facebook when I posted the link to my blog.  It would have been so easy to all the fluff scrolling along the this if you were alive and remember silly putty...send me this in whatever game...and the list goes on and on.  I love using facebook to keep up with people when I am too tired to keep up in real life.  Having an IRL friendship can be exhausting.  I can put in the work necessary for one real friendship, but keep up with like 30 different people.  Whatever...back to the real topic. Miss K did see my post...she did click the link...and she does know someone like me who can help me.  

This new person has given me some amazing perspective giving information.  She has Stage 4 breast cancer.  I understand that the type DOES NOT matter...most stage 4s are treated in relatively the same manner.  We all go into battle guns blazing...kick the shit out of the cancer...get it gone.  I'm sorry, what's that...I won't be getting rid of it?  Alright well...I still for the next 2 drug regimes at least, ran in guns blazing...kicking the shit out of cancer...trying like hell to get it gone.  What?  I'm not sure I heard correctly...I feel like crap..and my number is rising?  So cancer is building a larger army and I am weakened by all this fighting?!?  Does that sound like I have everything about right? GREAT...wait you arent' finished...based on a know there are cells in there that will probably never die. what?  Watch and wait...Coolio...I get to feel great...worry okay alot...but spend a relatively symptom free Spring Break with the Bug.  Number's back up you say? Back to infusions...this one might cause high blood pressure...blood clots...difficulty clotting...other bleeding issues...put protein in my urine...make me feel like I have the flu...all for the low, low price of $14,00/infusion...WHAT?!? but sure sign me up...kill the cancer.  Do the infusions...number drops...the number creeps down another 100 points one cycle...jumps a little...then jumps a lot.  Doc is ready to go back to one of the crazy toxic duos...oh yeah and for shits and giggles lets throw in the Avastin...because even though it isn't working...if I stop taking it and explosion of cancer cells could happen in my body.

I was feeling pretty bummed, but I got home to a mesage from Miss K.  She wanted to introduce me to an amazing friend of hers.  Another stage four warrior.  However, she wanted us to be more than Facebook friends.  She wanted us to be the real kind.  Her friend has been battling Stage 4 cancer for 7 years.  She looks amazing in her photos...alright maybe not the pics of her infusions...but I know I go for total comfort on those days.  She has a support group of other stage for cancer fighters.  They are called the "I.V. league."  I totally want to steal it for my walk in the fall.  I am actually thinking about Stage Four Fighter Fans.  We can all carry fans.  Wear tutus....with our neon, day glo colored shirts.  I still want to meet some locals, but having ANYONE who is in the same place is amazing.  Her name is Sandy and I am sort of a fangirl right now about her.  She has posted one note since we became FB friends, and sometimes it feels like she is typing out my words.  She refers to the treatment of an early stage cancer as a sprint.  Wam, Bam, Thank you ma'am...remission...or even cure.  She says stage four treatment is more like a marathon.  It isn't always about jumping ship the second a drug stops working...or appears to have stopped working.  Maybe in truth it is slowing the spread of this awful disease.  She talks about the finite number of drugs on the market approved to fight our types of cancer.  If we stay in the headspace that we had in the beginning we will run through all our treatment options long before it is time to say our farewells.  She covered so many questions about how I have been feeling recently, with just a few words.  I am not giving up...I am reining in.  I am not rolling over and waiting for the grim reaper to make his way to my door...I am just saving much needed strength to use when chemo strips me down to just my brain...and sometimes comes for that too. Isn't she amazing.  I think maybe she splits time living in Austin sometimes and sometimes Canada.  I will have to talk more with her to find out those details an IRL friend should know.  

Isn't life strange.  My post could easily have been covered with game fodder and Miss K would never have read the blog.  She could have never formed the bond she did with this woman.  This woman could have been a real dud.  She could have been so many things....
but for me she is a partner in this marathon we are running.  Next Tuesday I start the next leg of my race.  I won't be getting Avastin the insurance companies won't approve all three drugs to be given together.  SO I will stick to Gemzar/Cisplatin...and say goodbye to quite a few of the hairs I have been working so hard to grow.  Now I know I need to pace I know I'm not finished...I'm just running a slightly longer race than some. 

to the moon and back 


p.s.  I think I might split my blog into two blogs.  This one will be for crafty endeavors...and then I will create a new one for all my cancer stuff.  That way nobody has to read anything they don't want.  Crafters can get what they came for and supporters can find my fight.  What do you guys think...should I split it or since all of it is me should it stay together?

Down time

Yesterday I had a CT scan, so today I am just waiting for the results. This means I get to hang out with Robin, nap here and there, and think about a good place for dinner. I hope everyone else is enjoying some relaxing down time today.
To the moon and back