The Gray Area(s)

Laura has been trucking along since we last spoke. Though she’s now part alien. One of the little known side effects of all of that radiation. Which is now, thankfully, OVER.

This is where the fun begins. The cancer routine, if you will. Daily dose of Tamoxifen (for the next five years) paired with a side of Herceptin via 30-minute infusion every three weeks until February (which will mark one year of that loveliness).

Her body is not being quite as hospitable to all of those toxins as one would hope. (Must be all of that overly healthy living she and Jim do. That’ll teach ’em!) As a result, her white blood cell counts are quite low at the moment. They aren’t overly concerned, but will keep a close watch and we will all send HIGH vibes her way until then. Take that as you must. We DO live in Colorado after all…

And if you haven’t feasted your eyes upon the lovely Laura as of late, you are in for quite a beautiful surprise. She is sporting her new short ‘do with quite the flair. And her follicles just up and decided that she was going to be a part of the new granny hair trend. She looks like she stepped right out of Vogue.

I, of course, being the tactless miscreant that I am, blurted out, “Crash Test Dummies!!!” Which, 1) Laura did not get and, 2) No one in their right mind would enjoy being called. Here is the song anyway. Just because I can’t handle being so misunderstood. And, all together now: It’s all about me.

Until next time: HIGH VIBES PEOPLE!!! Oh, and don’t forget to wish her a HAPPY BIRTHDAY on Thursday! It will be the 25th anniversary of her 21st birthday, so she can drink finally!


Doin’ the Hula

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Chemo is over so it was time to hit the sand. Infusions 5 and 6 went smoothly, but were progressively harder for Laura both physically and mentally. A huge milestone, but still so far to go.

She went in for her radiation simulation before she left and got a picture of me tattooed over her breast. (Or maybe it was just dots to align the machine. I forget…)

Radiation kicks off on Monday with the set up appointment. Radiation is the part where they insert you into a tube and shoot lasers into your chest. Six straight weeks of that fun with weekends off. She can hardly wait.IMG_2845.JPG

For now, she’s been wearing her coconut bra and doing the hula all over Hawaii with Jim, Anna and Wilson.

And it’s going by much too fast (which I take as a VERY good sign.)

One Time At Chemo

Chemo #4 has come and gone, but the memories will forever linger. It was a chemo for the history books in that there were so many people there to keep our lovely Laura company, that we all actually got into trouble. The kind where the nurse comes over and whispers something like, “Seriously, Laura? This isn’t a cocktail bar.” Or something like that.

There was somewhere upwards of ten people surrounding her at any given time during the three or so hour session. Draped over the empty chemo chairs, cracking jokes, stealing the chemo snacks…(okay, that last one wasn’t true).

I don’t think we would’ve gotten into trouble if there wasn’t a crabby lady on the next row. We forgave her though because…she has cancer.

Laura’s labs continue to stay steady (knock wood). And even though the side effects are cumulative, she continues to amaze us all. She even went to a lunch and wine marathon right after treatment and seemed like her regular ole self minus the vat of wine the rest of us drank. Yesterday she was up and about, getting her shot of neulasta, taking Tommy for a walk, and pretty much in her routine. Today, she is super tired and (I hope) mostly resting.

It seems like Friday/Saturday are becoming her worst days as this goes on. But she is fighting the good fight. That I know is true.

Jim surprised her by booking a post-chemo trip to the Big Island, so I think she already has visions of the clam-shell bra and grass skirt she’ll undoubtedly be wearing dancing in her head.

This weekend the plan is to lay low, let the food from the sign-up roll in, and let her mom take good care of her and the kiddos while Jimmy heads to SF for a couple of days.

Only two more to go! Yahooooo!!!

You Say It’s Your Birthday…

As a matter of fact, it was my birthday. And since most of you reading this don’t even know ME, I’ll just say this: Laura is one amazing girl. Her chemo fell on Tuesday, April 7th — which also happened to be my 45th birthday. So, in true Laura form, she pulled out all of the stops to make sure I was celebrated. Even though we all know she had to be a little bit white-knuckled heading into the drip again.

Then, I proceeded to high jack her oncology appointment too by mentioning that my husband and I would be in next week for his five-year scan results. (Laura and my husband have the same amazing doc.) So Dr. J got this look on her face and said, “They were clear!” Another high-five moment in the day — but still

All of that being said, it was actually a pretty fun day considering we spent it all together at the cancer center. Friends were in and out bearing gifts for dear Laura (and me and sometimes only me…) We laughed a lot and blew out candles and ate cake and treats and caused enough revelry to bring a few of the patients out of their chairs (IV poles in tow), to see what we were up to.

Laura's official coming out on social media with my birthday candles. (You're welcome.)
Laura’s official coming out on social media with my birthday candles and our Shan. (You’re welcome.)

Laura was AMAZING. Felt fantastic the whole time even in spite of the obvious tiredness. And a few of us headed out to Bru for some lunch before she headed home to rest.

Now, two days and one neulasta shot in, she has a bad headache and is feeling more on the crappy side, but sounded mostly like her sweet ole self on the phone a bit ago. Taking it easy, taking the various meds for side effects when she needs to. And still getting meals and kid wrangling help so she doesn’t have to be on the go when she isn’t up for it.

I know I’ve said it before, but her strength and resilience is awe-inspiring. And that stubborn streak sure does come in handy. Especially when it’s your birthday and it’s time to make it a party at the cancer center.

Until next time…and I promise these posts will not always be all about ME.

The Luck of the Not-So-Irish

Laura sailed through today’s chemo with flying colors. The port did its work, she was able to take less steroids this round, and she even ate a sandwich right afterwards. (Good girl.)

Except for the drip-drip-drip for almost three hours, it almost seemed like a regular day. With a little extra green garb around and a few of the cancer patients doing a jig. (Always after me Lucky Charms.)

Laura hooking up again. [Hat wig pictured for extra fashion points.]
The next few days will tell their tale — whether she’s down for the count or still has a pep in her step. The neulasta shot wasn’t a popular part during round one and she gets that tomorrow, so we shall see…

Now that number two is behind her though, she has a few days to rest — and receive some food and help — before she heads off for a spring break getaway with her fam to Steamboat.

Over the last few days she’s gotten some snazzy new pjs, scarves, beautiful head coverings, and other accessories from her many well-wishers/#1 fans, so she is looking seriously stylish while she recovers.

Her hair has left the building, but, as is her way, she is handling it all with true poise and grace. The kids even joined in “the fun” this past Friday on Shave It Off Day. And Jim’s been calling her the mannequin ever since because she looks just that good as a baldy…

Thanks so, so much for having her back. She and Jim are so very grateful to you all.

Pills Make You A Pill

So it begins: You get yourself some chemo. Then you go home. Then. The symptoms and side effects start. So you call. Go back in. Report what is happening. And. You get some more drugs. Thinking, “Surely this will help.” Then you get a side effect that trumps the other side effect. And…you are officially down the rabbit hole. Drug, side effect, treat with another drug. Repeat.

You start to feel like you are playing Frogger. Dodging logs and cars, only to get splatted at one false move.

The thing is this: you do start to feel better eventually…Only. It’s just as it’s time to sidle up to the needle once more.

So, in the mean time, Laura’s locks are starting to fall like leftover Christmas tree tinsel into the trashcan. And she has about a week to keep feeling good before the cycle starts all over again.

The plan, for now, is to let the kids help with the BIG SHAVE so that they can make some fun out of the not-so-fun stuff ahead. You take those times as they come and make them the best that you can.

The biggest news is that Laura is finally starting to actually NOT feel the port and get used to it and co-exist in a peaceful parallel. She has been back exercising and having an occasional, tentative sip of wine. And these are all enormous victories for the feeling-good-agains.

Here’s to hoping this next week is uneventful and all full up with normal.