Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Goodbye Oncology!


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Yesterday I had my very last ever, ending, final, concluding, um last (did I mention that?)
 oncology appointment.

MY LAST ONCOLOGY APPOINTMENT!

That is 5 years and 4 months since diagnosis.

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This concludes 16 months of treatment and 4 years of follow-ups including:

one biopsy

one lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node removal

some very painful pre-surgery shots that still make me squirm when I think about them

6 rounds of 3 different types of chemo

6 painful post chemo shots

one bald and very round head

1 year of Herceptin IV treatment every 3 weeks

a scare that required tests to rule out metastasis 

16 total months of sitting for an IV drip every 3 weeks

tattooed dots for radiation

35 rounds of radiation (thats 5 days a week for 7 weeks people!)

one boob that looked like mahogany colored leather for months

a scare that involved the wrongful canceling of my insurance and a bill for $100,000, 
a small heart attack, a battle with insurance and the eventual reinstatement

medicine that made me feel crazy

follow-up appointments with 4 different doctors that started out every month, 
then every 3 and this past year closer to every 6 months

endless amounts of bloodwork

the aging of my friends and family

and a partridge in a pear tree!

I can hardly believe it's over.

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I'll have some yearly follow up but none that requires walking into the oncology unit.

I hadn't really thought about this as being a big event until I was sitting in the office and she told me I was "discharged from oncology and graduated from oncology follow ups".

Somehow though, there was just a tiny bit of anxiety along with the whole process.
I mean, now it's up to me to catch it early should it pop back up, there aren't eyes on me all the time.

I mentioned that it would be weird not checking in and she said that if I wanted to I was free to come in once a year for a follow up.
Not likely!  I appreciate the option though.

I switched insurance a while back so I'm not familiar with this staff but it was nice to see the look on the nurses face when she read my papers and realized I wasn't coming back.

I walked down the hall and opened the door to the waiting room. 
I saw anxiety, exhaustion, resignation, patience and sickness in the eyes looking back at me.

I exhaled when I got in the elevator.

By the time the doors opened 3 floors later I was crying.
I cried on the phone to my mom.
I cried when I was greeted at home by B and Peanut.

I cried sporadically through the day.
I didn't expect to be so emotional about it, I hadn't thought about it at all before the actual appointment.

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Very attractive.

AND THEN the day got even better.

After B went to work and Peanut went down for a nap I realized that I could not possibly be celebrating without chocolate.
I couldn't find any at all.

In a desperate attempt to curb my chocolate fix I started searching unopened Home Depot boxes.
I saw the box marked pantry in the corner of the garage and guess what I found?

Ghiradelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix!
Could the day get any better?!

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Yes it could!

Whilst searching through Goodreads I spied a book review that made me laugh, followed it to the reviewers page, saw another book she was currently reading, read the commentary, laughed at the authors witty responses and made the comment that I would read the book just because the author was so funny.


AND THEN guess what?!
He sent me a message to tell me that he would send me a copy of his book!
A free book from a witty author that I already love!

AND THEN Peanut went to bed and slept 9 hours straight in his own bed!

I'm almost panting now in the re-telling of this story.
There were just too many good things happening!

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Whoa there!  

AND THEN you know what else?
I love being able to share my excitement.
I posted on facebook and ended up with 167 likes (and counting) and over 50 messages of love, excitement and support.

It makes me cry just thinking about it.

I'm only sorry I didn't buy a lottery ticket yesterday as my friend Darryl suggested.

If your new 'round here and you want to get caught up on some of my favorite cancer stories 
(is that weird to say?)
You can read about my diagnosis HERE, HERE and HERE.

You can read about how I lost my hair and B used it as a mustache HEREhttp://spontaneousclapping.blogspot.com/2011/03/mustache.html

You can read about a man I still think about HERE.

Or you could read about it all under the tag The Big C.

~sigh~
Thank you all for going through this all with me.

I'm going to go finish that pan of brownies now.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Celebrating Whitny

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In the 33 years that Whitny was alive she packed more experience, love and happiness in to her life and the lives of those around her, than many do in twice that time.

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I'll be honest, I didn't know Whitny well.

I remember the first time I saw her.  It was at Peanut's Red Egg and Ginger Party.
I very discreetly whispered to B, "Hey who is the hottie over there with the 2 gorgeous boys?"

There was something about Whitny that drew people to her.  
She's gorgeous and her smile and laugh were contagious.

We chatted occasionally via Facebook.

I've kept up with her progress and updates and the journal entries her mom made regarding Whitny's treatment for gastric cancer.


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Whitny traveled around the world, exploring and living in places like Morocco, India, France, Germany, Poland, Nepal, Cyprus and Australia.  
She was a young wife and mother and her boys are nothing short of incredible.
Later she managed working, nursing school and raising two boys as a single mom.

Doing not even a portion of that whilst running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I find that quite impressive.

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A few years ago she met B's friend Bruce and they fell in love.

They married a few months after Whitny's diagnosis and watching the two of them, hearing their stories, well it's just pure love and beauty.

It doesn't seem fair that they had less than a year to be married, or that her boys had their mama for so little time, or that there are so many people in the world that won't have the opportunity to meet her.

I barely knew her and still Whitny inspires me.

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Today family and friends gather in a park to celebrate her life.  
If you are in Sacramento you may spot the large gathering of people wearing bright colors.
You may hear the laughter and the sound of stories being shared.
In the afternoon look to the sky and watch the balloons float through the air as they are released by her children, her husband, her brother, her parents and all those who love and were inspired by Whitny.

Today I will release a balloon here in Orange County and I will think of all the things that Whitny would like for the rest of us.
I will remember to hold my baby and husband, to laugh and love and explore.
I will enjoy life, remember  what is important, be comfortable with myself and I will not fear what is in store for me.

What will you do today to honor and celebrate Whitny?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

House tour!

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As promised a thousand moons ago, here is the first official house tour.

These pictures were taken for the listing so we get a good idea of how they had the house set up.


walkway

Almost all the flowers you see are already dead.

I am a flower killer.

I'm thinking of all the fun things we can hang for the holidays here!

living room

This is the living room when you first walk through the front door, which is to the left in this picture.

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They didn't have the stairs shown on the listing so here is a shot after we're already in.

There are actually two different greens there and the bookcase is already partly dismantled but you get the idea.

At the top is access to the attic aka christmas decoration storage.

I love how open this is.

The front door is just to the right.

dining room

This is the dining room and one of the sliding doors to the back yard.

kitchen

Here is the kitchen, you can see the dining room at the far end.

kitchen nook

A little eating area between the kitchen and the family room.

I love that you can see the back yard from all of these windows.
I like to know when Peanut is trying to pick up spiders and is busy eating dirt.

family room

The family room with a fireplace I can't wait to use in the winter.

I think so far, that although this rooms lends itself perfectly to a TV room that I would like to keep it TV-less and make it really kid friendly.

That sounds odd considering it has the fireplace but I'd rather make the front room a more adult room, 
in hopes that we can walk into the house and not see a bunch of toys.

I feel like the less Peanut sees the TV the less he wants it on and so it'll either be hidden or gone completely from the room.

There is another set of sliding doors to the back yard.

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The view from the top of the stairs.

master

The master bedroom.  This room is actually much larger than it looks.

To the left is a very large, long window and the ceiling is very high on one side.

The master bedroom is above the family room.

master bath

The master bathroom, closets to the left, shower and separate potty to the right and perhaps my favorite... behind the wall you see on the right is the linen closet.

The bathroom is huge and the ceiling is high.

The only drawback is that the light through those windows is a rude wake-up call should we be so lucky to sleep until 7:15 am.

second bedroom

These rooms they remodeled not to long ago, adding an additional room in the front of the house.

I love the windows and light and they both have views of the mountains.

Both of these bedrooms are above the garage and entryway.

peanuts

This is Peanut's room.

Although in person the color is this room was a vivid lime green, we loved how bright and cheerful it was.  In my opinion, this is the best room in the house.  This was completely added on to the house.

I liked the color so much that I chose a softened version of it for Peanut.
It went from vivid lime green to what I think of as lime sherbet but is called something like Frosted Garden.

Of course, it's only fitting that the prince live in here.
He also has the only walk-in closet. 
I know.
Apparently they were originally going to build out differently and what started as a hallway ended up as a walk in closet.

For a little boy.

back yard

Here is our new back yard.

No more packing a bag and stroller to get the kid outside.
Now I just open the door and go back inside for a nap.

I kid, I kid.

back yard2

They were kind enough to leave the enclosure you see on the left, under which Peanut now has his own house.

We've already used our BBQ several times and I love how everything is nice and shaded so the sun isn't glaring through all the wonderfully double-paned windows.

That concludes our house tour for today.
I'll keep you posted on renovations, the house should be furnished and completed by the time Peanut is in college.

We love the house, by the way.
Love.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ta da!

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Peanut- look at mommy!

We did it!

We made it through summer!
This means the restaurant is taking a deep breath before the next project.
That means that I am taking a deep breath before the next project.

Labor day weekend was a fiasco in which I worked a full time work week in a few days.
Luckily my lovely in-laws were staying with us to check out the new house and to take care of Peanut during what was sure to be a crazy weekend for B and I.

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Teeth!

I'm relieved and I'm really looking forward to getting into a rhythm in the new house.

Tonight Peanut and I joined B, for the first time since Monday,
 because we were getting the floors done.

It's good to be home and it's good to know that we can really get going with putting things together here.

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Concentration

Today is also my birthday and I've received lovely well wishes from amazing friends and family!
Thank you very muchly everyone!

I'm officially 33 years old and I rotate from feeling like 20 and feeling like I'm 50 and feeling like I'm 80, depending on the time of day.

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Mom, did you see that?

Speaking of the house, yes I am going to post pictures.

I'm uploading the listing pictures tonight so you have some good before and after pictures.
That is, after I get projects done so that there are before and afters.


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Ta Da!

Peanut has done really well considering all the changes.

He's a little out of sorts....
but no more out of sorts than his father.

What?

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Why yes, I did just knock those all off the table.

What have you all been up to?

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