Thursday, October 30, 2008

Taking a Poll....

Portland/Seattle in April or May for first time visitors looking for a rockin time? A friend is bringing her neice as a high school graduation present. Would the weather be better in April or May?

Would welcome any ideas on places to stay and places to visit, as I'm the world's worst hostess.

Rose Gardens
Japanese Gardens
Multnomah Falls
Silver Falls
Tupid Fields
Shopping in NW Portland
The beach
Portland Zoo
Bonneville Dam
Portland Art Museum
winery tours
Mt. Hood
Mt. Saint Helens
Crater Lake

Seattle Art Museum
Ballard Locks
San Juan Islands
Space Needle
Seattle Center
ferry ride

Any suggestions????

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Midweek update

Had chemo yesterday. Round 12 of 12. But probably starting another round soon. Hoping to have some time off because I am just so burned out on the whole cancer thing. Sick and tired of it. Sick of watching people die. Went to my support group today and we passed a candle for another lady from the group that died Oct. 16th. Her service is Sat.

I don't know what got into me today but I cried like a baby all day. I went to group and just had to work so hard to hold in my tears and then I couldn't stop crying. I was a mess. Dave rearranged his schedule and stayed home to take over the kid responsibilities so I could nap. I needed that. I'm going to blame my fragile emotional state on chemo. I'm just so tired of it all. I really am. I don't want to play this stupid cancer game anymore. I want to go back to being normal. Back to life before cancer. I really do. Sigh.

I did accompany Spencer to his end of season Catlin soccer party. That was fun. Nice to hear the coach talk about the team and the parents talk about the coach. What a great group. Glad I could attend and keep my emotions in check. Feel much better after that.

So sorry to all of my friends that had to listen to my pity party today. I appreciate your friendship and concern and thank you for being patient with me and for being there in both the good and bad times. Wish there were less bad times though. No offense.

Can't wait to ditch Fillup the chemo pump tomorrow. Not sure I'm up for dressing up as Snow White on Friday now. Feeling less than "Fair", certainly not feeling like the "fairest". Although living happily ever after sounds pretty good to me about now.

Big hugs to all. Enjoy your week and all of that Halloween candy! Anyone not wanting their Milky Way or Twix, send them over! They are my favorite!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chemo, CT Scans and Championships

I ended up rescheduling my chemo for Tuesday so I wouldn't miss Spencer's championship game. Turns out we had to spend our day at the doctors anyways, getting CT Scans. But not for me, for Spencer! He's been complaining about a sore left side. He says it's been hurting since Thursday but he didn't tell me about it until Saturday before his soccer game. Her said it hurt to breath, cough and move. He's been pretty much useless on the field since. Today I got him in to see the doctor at 11:45am. I was planning on him being out of school for an hour tops. Doctor felt his ribs and two were sore and it was sore between and under them. She didn't think he had a fracture, but she was worried about his spleen. She asked what he had going on the rest of the week. He mentioned his championship game tonight. She then said he needed to get an Ultrasound before she could clear him to play. She talked to the radiologist and they decided he didn't need an ultrasound, but he needed a CT Scan! They did a rush referral so they could get him looked at and the scan read by game time. If it was normal, he could play. If not, he would have to sit out. CT scan scheduled for 2pm. He had to drink two 16 oz bottles of Barrium Sulfate prior to the CT Scan at 1pm. Have any of you ever gotten a CT scan? I have. Every 3 months for the last two years in fact. Do you know how hard it is for me to drink that CRAP each time? I'm talking the drink is 500 times worse than the scan itself. And I'm not kidding. Can you now imagine my 13 year old son drinking two bottles of that CRAP in an hour? Do you know how skinny my son is? He has no room in the stomach for even one bottle. No kidding. It was pure torture for not only him, but for me to watch (and poor Paris too since she met us for coffee before the scan). I didn't think he was going to make it. Or that it was going to stay in his stomach for the scan. Plus he hadn't eaten since breakfast. I think he will have a new appreciation for what I now go through every 3 months.

The scan went well. I wasn't allowed to go back there with him and had to wait in the waiting room. That was hard for me. The tech came out and told me he did fine and even giggled because the contrast dye they inject into his IV made his bum warm and tingly. She thought he was so cute. :) That's my boy. LOL I then took him to get a couple bagels before his 415pm game and not long after the scan we got the all clear. No broken ribs or ruptured spleen. He was good to go. So dropped him off at school just as the school day was ending. He started the game but didn't last but a few minutes and was taken out because he said he felt like he was going to throw up. So much stuff sloshing around in his gut. He said he thought he was a liability so he opted not to play. I think the time he was in, he did great. I was sorry to spend all of that time, energy (and probably money!) at the docs, etc. making sure he could play and then not seeing him play. Especially since he had quite the crowd cheering him on. (thanks for coming out to see the game Grannie Seattle, Grampa and Ginger, not to mention all of the Catlin students!).It was a great game. They went all out. It was a real battle. It ended in a tie, 1-1. They were going to crown the two teams "Co-Champions" but the coaches met with the ref and athletic director and they decided to play two five minute OT periods. After the end of those, they would be co-champs if no clear winner. After the first OT, it was still tied. With a minute to go in the 2nd, OES scored a goal and won the championship. It was an aggressive game with several yellow cards awarded to players and even one OES kid getting ejected for taking his shirt off after scoring that second goal! Guess that's not allowed! Spencer was bummed they lost and that he didn't contribute. I was bummed he went through all of that today and for nothing really. :( He still didn't get to play because of the side effects from the scanning process. Oh well, it was a great season. So much fun to watch the games and the team work together. And to connect with the other parents. And most of all, to see Spencer gain his confidence and passion for the game back!Now tomorrow I have to get chemo, which means I'll have stupid Fillup the chemo pump until Thursday afternoon instead of breaking up with him on Wednesday like I usually do. :(

A couple cool opportunities for me:

1. The Writing Workshop I'm in is being filmed. Someone is making a documentary about it and they asked if they could follow me outside of class. Now that's reality tv!

2. I've been asked for a third time to be a patient teacher for the OHSU Living With Life Threatening Disease course for first year medical students. No one has ever been asked back twice, let alone three times, so I feel special! :) It's been such a great experience for both myself and my students and it's been a great way for me to give back to the community. Creating better doctors with understanding of what patients (and their families) go through during the course of their illness. Not just medically, but emotionally, financially, etc. All aspects. First hand. They will have more compassion and a better bedside manner because of this class! During the course of the class, I will be paired up with one student and will meet them on a weekly basis for 8 weeks I think. Last time I was randomly paired up with a woman who had lost her mother to cancer when she was ten. So it was very healing and beneficial for both of us, to understand and experience the other perspectives. It was amazing. I love doing it and am so honored they asked me.

Thanks for listening to me ramble!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkins, Puppies, Piggies and Prose

Gorgeous Pacific NW day today! It was 71 degrees when we hit Lee Farms Pumpkin Patch around 3:30 pm. What a fun place full of animals, food and fun! Kaelin had to show off her muscles as she picked out a huge pumpkin, almost too big for her to carry.
Spencer used Simba to "sniff out" his pumpkin...
I went for the unusal ghost pumpkin and Kaelin captured a great photo of me! She's turning out to be quite the photog!
The whole reason Spencer wanted to go to this pumpkin patch (we've never been to this one before) was because he heard from a friend that there were labradore puppies there, and boy were there! A litter of 11 little Marley's!!! I didn't think Spencer would EVER stop begging me for one. Sorry son, don't have $650.00 extra dollars hanging around. Or like I overheard one dad tell his kid "They aren't for sale." That works until they can read themselves! LOL
There were also goats in a petting area, llamas, ponies, chickens and piggies!!!!

We had a fabulous time! I love fall. I just want to make a big pile of fall leaves from our front yard and jump in them! Maybe we'll do that tomorrow before chemo since Kaelin is off of school.

Problem with's scheduled for 1:30pm tomorrow and usually will take all day til close, about 5pm. But Spencer's championship game is at 4:15pm at Catlin, so I might call and see if I can get in earlier or skip it all together! Doesn't that sound like a good choice? Who needs round 12 of 12 anyways???? sigh. Stupid Fillup the pump will have to go cheer him on too. And of course, it's Halloween week. And I'm going to miss the annual Catlin Gabel Rummage Sale at the Expo center this weekend because my immune system will be wiped out and I can't be around all of those people. Sucks to be me once again!

I'll leave you all with some writings from the last few weeks:

10/17 prompts for 5 minute write:
1. Find last line of previous writings and use that as your prompt.
2. In my dream...

Here is a list of last lines from my writings:
  • Living life to the fullest
  • Leave a lasting impression
  • Hang on for your life
  • Bring comfort and joy
  • Lay down next to fear, who often stays all night
  • Like two birds of a feather
  • Do some sightseeing along the way
  • Taking over like the cancer that he is
  • It's my favorite too
  • a purple crayon
A Lasting Impression
by Shauna Berglund Immel

I want to leave a lasting impression
but I am afraid it will be like footprints in the sand,
which will be washed away with the tide.
Or like a favorite pair of jeans,
which will fade with time.
I hope that what I've left my children is
a lasting impression on their hearts,
which will never fade.

1. I grew up believing...
2. A major wake up call...

Chasing Rainbows (a work in progress)
by Shauna Berglund Immel

I believe in the miracle of life.
I believe in rainbows.
We all love rainbows.
Which come out with the sun after a downpour.
We love to look at them.
To chase them.
To find the rainbows end.
But we never get there.
It's not about the pot of gold itself.
It's about the beauty to behold.
The journey and scenery along the way.
It's about appreciating life.
The miracle of life.
Find your rainbow
and chase it.

10/24 prompts:
1. Courage is...
2. The most beautiful place I've ever seen...

I got to class late and missed the time to journal about these prompts. Hope to do that later.

10 minute write
1. Write about an ordinary, everyday activity
2. Capture a moment.

Stuck in a Moment
by Shauna Berglund Immel

When you hear the words
"You have cancer,"
The world stops spinning
for a moment.
You can't breath.
You are numb.
Overcome by thoughts of doubt.
Your heart starts beating at a high rate.
Your body slowly begins to
shake and tremble
as it builds up momemtum
until you lose control
and collapse in a heap on the ground.
You feel an unimaginable pain.
So deep in your heart and soul.
A place that has never been touched.
Raw and fragile
A place you never want to visit again.
You wait for that moment to pass.
So you can breath again.
For the pain to subside.
But that moment isn't fleeting.
Time has stopped.
And that place that you didn't want to visit
now becomes your home.

We were given a variety of photographs to choose from. I chose a black and white one of a woman standing and all you can see are here legs and feet and she's casting a shadow. Her young daughter is crouched down examining the woman's shadow with curiosity.

We were asked to think up a list of possible titles.

  • In My Mother's Shadow
  • Shadow Dance
  • Me and My Shadow
  • In the Shadows
  • A Shadow of a Doubt
  • Big Shoes to Fill
  • My Mother's Shadow
  • Coming Out from Her Shadow
  • In the Shadows of My Mind
  • Shadow Puppets
  • Safe in the Shadows
  • Paper Dolls
  • Cut Outs
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Shadow Dancing
  • Stepping Into the Shadows
We were then asked to pick one and use that as our prompt.

The Warmth of Her Shadow (a work in progress)
by Shauna Berglund Immel

It feels warm here.
Safe in the shadows.
My mother's shadow.
In the shadows of my mind.
It's all that is left of her.
She's but a shadow watching over me.
A ghost of herself keeping watch.
Protecting me with her presence.
In my mind.
Her shadow towers over me.
Like a sentry on guard.
She shades me from the harsh sun.
I dance with her in my mind.
A shadow dance.
She holds me in her warmth.
The warmth of her shadow lingers.
Long after she is gone.

Thanks for reading.
Have a great week full of fun and laughter!
Make it count!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Who is the Fairest One of All?

Photos from our Halloween party last night...

Kaelin as a soldier from the Xbox video game "Halo"...

Spencer as bored, moody teenager...
Dave as Indiana Jones....

or me as an XL Snow White? (pretty good photo considering it was taken from my cell phone by myself!)

You decide....

Soccer update:

Kaelin's Red Magic team won today 5-0.

Spencer's Modoc team tied 2-2 and lost 2-1.

Catlin Gabel Boys 8th Grade team plays in the championship game vs OES, 4:15pm Monday @ Catlin Gabel! Come cheer them on!!!!

On the agenda for the rest of the day:

Spencer getting a haircut (he's a helmet head!)

Kaelin going to a Haunted Walk with classmates

Spencer going to rehearsal for a haunted house production at a classmates house

Nothing scheduled for Sunday! Woo Hoo! I'll have to get my house and life in order before going down for chemo on Monday. :(

Enjoy your weekend!



Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday

Halloween 2007

Me as a piece of pink bubblegum that someone stepped in (recycled idea from my best bud Joni at UCLA)

Kaelin as Bobofet from Star Wars. I think 2 or 3 other BOYS in her class were the same...
Simba as Yoda from Star Wars...

And Spencer as a bunch of purple grapes. Look at how much he's grown/changed since last year! Wow, he looks so young and little!!!
Off to see my fairy godmother who is to transform me into a beautiful princess! ;)



ps. Spencer's parent/teacher conference went so well! So much better than expected! They all raved about him and his abilities and personality etc. and that he's a much different person than 6th and 7th grade. He's engaged. Happy. Organized. :) I can't tell you how happy that made my heart! We've had a rough two years and Spencer really took it all to heart, losing his passion for things and withdrawing into himself. I'm so proud of him! And so relieved. He's on top of things. Are we talking about my child???? :) When asked what his goal was for this year he said "to go to Japan." And what he was looking forward to or wishing for: "Barack Obama being President!" lol I can breath again. Whew. Wasn't sure if I was going to blindsided since I hadn't heard anything lately. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Go Blue!!!!

Catlin Gabel boys 8th Grade team won tonight, 7-0 in the semi final game! They play the winner of the OES/Meadowglade team on Monday @ 415pm (maybe Tues?). Woo Hoo! The boys played GR8! All of them! Spencer had some great footwork and set up a goal in the first half with a big kick from midfield. What a fun game to watch and cheer for! Go Catlin! Woo Woo Woo!!!! ;)

Was supposed to stay home today and get caught up on laundry, groceries, housework and paperwork but got invited to lunch, so ran off to have lunch with Laura and Sherry @ Bushwhackers! Great burgers and fries! Looks like a fun country western bar and grill.

Tomorrow is my writing group, Spencer's conference (he's off school), providing food for and cleaning up for the Middle School teacher's luncheon, and then a huge Halloween party tomorrow night! My big black platform shoes for my Snow White costume arrived today! I"m finally going to be tall! :) I'm going to look like a fat Snow White, but what can I do??? The more of me to love!!! DAve's going to be Indiana Jones, Spencer Dipsy the lime green Teletubby and Kaelin a soldier from Halo. LOL Photos to follow for sure! Brace yourselves!!! Me in my costume will be the SCARIEST!!!! Followed by Spencer....

Hope you all enjoy your Friday!!!


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mid Week update

Met with my gynological/oncological surgeon today. Haven't had a recheck with her in a year now! She's outside the Kaiser system and I was referred to her because of my unique situation and she's the top in her field. She knows my history from the beginning, and since my Kaiser oncologist retired in March and my OHSU oncologist moved to Canada, it's important for me to be able to check in with someone that has been there from the onset. She's a great patient advocate and very proactive and is known by other patients and medical staff as "The Bulldog". But I love that about her. She pulls no punches and says it like it is and is very up front and frank with you. She always makes me feel grounded. I really value her opinion.

Anyways, my followup went well. She did a pap and internal and she said everything felt smooth and normal. She said I look great and that she's not worried about the slight increase in my CA125. I mentioned my concern about weight gain and she said it was important. That it's a protective barrier. That I need those reserves to draw from if I get sick. So that made me feel a little better about myself. She also agreed with everything my new oncologist has done and her approach. She also set my mind at ease about my Cobra insurance running out and staying with Kaiser afterwards. That I'm getting really expensive treatment for not a lot. It could be so much worse. And that I'm still here, which says alot. That they must be doing something right. She also agrees with staying on a chemo regimine if it means keeping the cancer at bay and buying more time. It's just so old and I'm so tired of it, but I can't agrue with that ya know? I've tried so many different things and I've gotta go with what works.

Since I was at the hospital anyways, I went to my Making Today Count Women With Metastatic Cancer Support Group for the firs time in a long time. After several beloved women died, I couldn't bring myself to go. It was good to see some familiar faces and to check in with everyone. It's a hard thing to do. To go to those meetings. To see some of the women deteriorating before your eyes. To hear some of them have 6-12 months to live. It sure puts a lot of things in perspective and it makes me feel very grateful for my situation. It could always be so much worse. I'm thankful I can do all that I do and feel pretty good doing it, considering. I really am fortunate. Considering. Ya know? I don't look like a cancer patient. I have my hair. I'm nice and round. :) I can walk unassisted. Gotta admit, I've got it good compared to a lot of them. Gotta remember that!

Ok, to move on to soccer update....

Spencer's 8th grade Catlin Gabel team beat Trinity Lutheran on Tuesday 6-0 and so they advance in the playoffs and play Thurs. @ Riverdale Elem/Middle School at 415pm. If they win then (tough matchup!) they will play in the championship game on Monday. Go Blue!!!!

Spencer has a league game tonight with his U14 Modoc's soccer team. And then he has 2 games on Saturday and Kaelin has a game too.

I'm excited about plans in the works for a high school and college friends reunion in the works! Probably a Kentwood group in mid December in Washington and then a UCLA group in San Francisco in late January! :) Email me if you're interested in joining in! I joked to a friend that I felt like it was my "Farewell Tour." He set me straight. I should know better than to say those things out loud! ;)

Glorious day here in the Pacific NW! 70 degrees. Clear. Sunny. Beautiful fall colors. Perfect!!!!

Hope you all have a glorious week! Enjoy the beauty of fall!!!!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CA125 update

Last month I was at 32.
Normal is 35 or below.
Here is the note my onocologist sent me:

Hi, the CA 125 was stable at 37.


Not sure why it's gone up. Need to ask her that. She seems to think it's stable, but I still worry as I only have 1 round of the FOLFOX left and then we were maybe going to take a month off and start again with something. Worried this will mess with my month off. I NEED it so badly. Dec. would be a good month to have off wouldn't it???

My billirubin results were slightly improved and not in normal range but she's not as concerned about liver function now. But I do need to retest in a week. So now I'm worried about that too. :(

Off to meet Paris at Borders and then to Spencer's Catlin Gabel playoff game @ Catlin @ 415pm!
Need a dose of my coffee drink to get me thru the rough patch.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Is it the Weekend Yet????

Friday Spencer's Catlin Gabel 8th Grade team lost to OES, but made the playoffs and they play on Tuesday and again later in the week if they keep winning.

Saturday, Kaelin's Red Magic U12 team won 6-1, playing keepaway for most of the game since they have the 5 goal mercy rule.

Spencer's U14 Modocs team won both of their games on Saturday with Spencer scoring a goal and setting up a couple others with assists.

Saturday night I lost my mind and let Spencer invite five 13 yr old boys over for a sleepover. 2 couldn't come, so there were 3 that came over and played Dungeons and Dragons and Video Games and ate pizza, caesar salad and cookies n cream ice cream until midnight! Only 2/3 could sleep over so they stayed up and read Mangas (Japanese comic books/graphic novels you read back to front) until 1am!!! We got up at 9am and made them French Toast and fresh berries before sending them on their way at 11am.

At which point we left to celebrate Ali's Birthday with the Red Magic team at the Portland Pilots vs Pepperdine soccer game! Happy 11th Bday Ali!!! Hopefully her parents will share the group photo of the girls with Olympic Gold Medalist, Stephanie Cox! It was fun to run into the Catlin Gabel 4th grade girls team at the same game! Kaelin would love to play with her classmates, but they wouldn't let her play on both teams and she's been with the Red Magic in soccer and hoops since 2005.

After the game we sped off to make it to Spencer's U14 Modoc's tournament game, which they lost to a very good team 4-0, but placed in 2nd place overall.
Didn't get home until 6pm! Whew! Made dinner while Spencer did his homework (watching the debate online) and then playing catchup with dishes, laundry, emails, photo uploads, blogs etc!

This week is another crazy week with soccer games on Tues, Wed and probably Thurs (if they win). Halloween parties on both Friday and Saturday nights, 3 soccer games on Saturday, but nothing scheduled for Sunday so far! Woo Hoo!

Tomorrow I'm getting my blood retested (high billirubin from last week). I need to find out my CA125 results too. I'm having lunch with the Catlin Gabel soccer moms on Monday and doing curb duty at school on Tuesday, along with providing snacks for the boys soccer team before their game. I've got a followup appt. with my gyn/oncological surgeon on Wed, and hope to get to my support group afterwards since it's in the same hospital. Friday Spencer's off school again and we have his conference and I volunteered to provide food for the teachers luncheon and to help clean up. I have my writing workshop in the morning and it's going to be a LONG day/night!

We've got our costumes figured out for the Halloween parties:
I've always wanted to be a princess and now I have hair like Snow White so why not?

Kaelin's going as a soldier from the video game "Halo." That's my girl. Sorry I don't have a photo of her to share. It got lost along the way. For the last several years she's been a red Power Ranger, Spiderman, a Jedi Knight, Bobafet from Star Wars and a Ninja. Someone's gotta be the princess and since that will never happen with my little girl, it's no wonder I want to dress up like one myself! Us gals gotta represent!!!

The scariest costume of all is Spencer's! He told me he wasn't dressing up or going trick or treating and then when we were shopping for mine and Kaelin's costumes in the Adult section, he spied this gem of a costume...

Dipsy from the Telatubbies!!!! His whole aim is to embarrass his friends. I think that he's going to embarrass himself and the rest of his family more!!! LOL I can just see him walking through the neighborhood with a whole line of kids trailing behind him like the Pied Piper. LOL That's my boy. ?????? Last year he was a bunch of grapes with purple balloons pinned all over him. He's gotta keep up his image as the goofy, funny one at school that makes everyone laugh I guess???

So I've rambled long enough. Really rambled. I'm going to blame it on lack of sleep!!!

I hope you all have a rockin' Monday! Woo Hoo no chemo for me this week! I'm going to party like a rockstar!!!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Favorite Foto Friday

Photos from Grandma's Pumpkin Patch 2007

Today was a GLORIOUS Pacific Northwest day! It was 74 degrees, clear and sunny. The {perfect} day!

Stay tuned for writings from my writing workshop and photos from the 8th Grade Catlin Gabel Soccer team, who lost to cross town rivals OES 3-1 today.

Also, brace yourself for photos of my children's {Halloween} costumes.

We have 3 soccer games tomorrow, maybe a sleepover, and a soccer game to play and the Portland Pilots women's soccer game to watch on Sunday. So more photos to follow!!!

I'm spent. Goodnight!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Weekly Wrap Up on Thursday

Kaelin got her hand stepped on playing goalie at recess on Monday. It was all swollen and black and blue and was the hand she broke last winter, so we went and got it X-rayed today. The doc didn't think it was broken but said she wasn't a hand specialist, so she'd have someone else look at it and get back to us. I'm thinking it's ok. Hoping so anyways.

Chemo Monday drug on forever and ever. I had an 11:30am appt. with the doc, but got in to see her late as they were behind schedule. Which put chemo behind schedule. I was there from 11:15-5:15pm. Sigh. The doctor said this was 11/12 rounds for this cycle, but that she didn't want to give me a break because of what happened last time they did that - my numbers went up and the cancer came back. So she said we could keep going with what we were doing (and going more than 12 rounds) or we could switch to something else, maybe an oral chemo in the form of pills (different side effects). Not what I wanted to hear. One of my blood tests came back high, my liver something or other. She's a bit concerned about that and wants me to go in on Monday and retest. If it's still high, she thinks we should do another US as she's still concerned about my gall bladder. After round 12, I will get another CT scan to see where I stand. I am SO !@#$%^&*()_+ sick of chemo, ct scans and blood tests! I want to feel and be normal again!!!! ARgh!!!! Not sure how long I can keep this song and dance up. It is SO FLIPPIN OLD I TELL YA! Was so glad to get unhooked from my pump yesterday and shower and move around and sleep freely without a stupid leash. Grrrr...sour grapes!

Monday I was so excited to use my 20% off coupon at REI and buy a warm, fuzzy, cozy, waterproof pair of Sorrell boots to keep my toesies warm during outdoor soccer season!!!! :)

I have a confession to make. I've missed my Support Group meetings (every Wed 11-1230pm) for the last several months. Ever since Betsy and Etta died. I can't bring myself to go. And I love my support groups. I wouldn't miss it for the world before. I just am not strong enough emotionally to handle sitting in there right now. It breaks my heart. I've also been so tired and not able to get up and get there on time. Plus, I've been hooked up to stupid Fillup the chemo pump. Really messes with a girls social schedule ya know?

What else? Spencer went to a sleepover last weekend so DAve, Kaelin and I went and saw the movie, "The City of Ember". It was too dark and depressing for me. Haven't been seeing a lot of movies lately. Costs a fortune! Geez. Lots of good ones coming out in November though!

Haven't been watching much TV lately either. Or reading. Not sure what I've been doing really except running around back and forth from practices and games etc. Doing a lot of laundry with uniforms. Seems these chemo weeks every other week are really making my housekeeping, paperwork, grocery shopping, domestic stuff challenging! I am getting farther and farther behind. Can't ever catch up. I seem to have less and less energy as the weeks go by too. Last cycle, I only made it thru 11 rounds. But that was with the nasty Oxcilliplatin that they had to nix because I developed an adverse reaction to it. Anyways, I am tired, old and fat. This darn cancer makes me feel/look/seem like I'm 40 years older than I am. It's like I'm an 80 yr old woman most of the time! For proof, next time you see me, check out my curly locks. It's like I have an old lady curly perm. :( Sigh. What is a girl to do????? I'll probably just lose it again anyways, so that will solve that.

Ok, this turned into a pity post. Sorry. :(

Tomorrow Spencer is off school again. We need to go get his passport for his Japan trip in March and then I have my writing group, which I am so looking forward to and missed last week cuz I had to take a mini vacation! Spencer also plays cross town rival OES in soccer. Excited for that. He's doing great and having a fab season in Catlin soccer!

Ok, off I go to nap before we head out to gym etc.

Have a great weekend! Make it count!!


Monday, October 13, 2008

It's a Zoo Out there!

We spent the weekend at soccer games, overnights with Dungeon and Dragons games and a trip to the zoo to see the baby elephant Samudra. Here are some photos from our weekend:

Chemo Monday was a long one. I was there from 11:15am - 5:15pm and then was sent home with the chemo pump, "Fillup". I'll be glad to get rid of him tomorrow. Really glad.

A couple more Catlin Gabel 8th grade soccer games this week and games this weekend, along with Kaelin going to the Portland Pilots Women's soccer game with her Red Magic Team on Sunday and a get together for the 4th Grade Parents that night. As usual, too many places to go and people to see and not enough time and bodies to divide and conquer!

I hope your week is filled with fabulous fun times!


p.s. anyone play Fantasy Football? I usually dominate and this year I have Colston, Boldin and Westbrook, who all are great players, but they are also all hurt! It's killing me and I've only won 1 game all season so far! At least I'm second place in the neighborhood Pickem League. Gotta look on the positive side. Gotta let the boys win sometimes I guess....


That pretty much sums it up.

Hope everyone else has something to look forward to this Monday!


p.s. Have soccer photos of Spencer's 3 games this last weekend and photos of the baby elephant at the zoo to share when I get a chance!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Playing Catch Up

Or at least trying very hard to.

I've been feeling so very overwhelmed lately. There is so much to do and not enough time. EVER. Don't want to spend my time doing those kinds of things though. Would rather run away from them and life most of the time. Run away to coffee and lunch with friends. To the movies. Shopping. Anywhere but here, in this place of cancer. Sigh.

Not run away from all of life, but the hard parts you know? Wish I had a fairy godmother to wave her magic wand, clean my house, go grocery shopping, pay the bills, cook dinner, deal with the clutter that is taking over my house like the cancer inside me. !@#$%^&* cancer. Show your face you coward!!!! Ok, having one of those days/weeks. Where I'm feeling woe is me. Sorry. Dave's been out of town in Texas all week and he's my sunshine. So feeling a little blue. The sun will come out again tonight after I pick him up. :)

I intended to get so much done this week. How come that never works out as planned? Things come up, schedules get changed, kids forget things that I have to go out of my way to take to school, friends invite me to lunch, there are soccer games to watch. You name it.

When I did finally find the time, and my inlaws were so very kind enough to take my kids for the few days they were off school, I sat down in my house and looked around and didn't know where to start. How to start. Why to start. I just felt so overwhelmed. And uncomfortable in my own home. And my own skin. I wanted to run away to Reno!

So what did I do? I packed a bag and checked into a hotel for the night and took a "mini vacation". And ya know what? It did wonders. A hot bath, a good nights/morning/afternoon sleep and no distractions. Just what the doctor ordered. Now hopefully I can get back on track and tackle the mess that is our life.

So to start, I'm posting photos from last weekends soccer tourneys/league games (all 7 of them!!!)

Spencer played two league games with his U14 team, The Modocs on Saturday and one Kohl's Cup Tourney game on Sunday. The tourney runs several Sundays through October. They tied 1-1. He also had games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with his Catlin Gabel School 8th Grade Soccer team. Can't remember all of the scores, but they won 10-1 on Tuesday and 11-1 on Wednesday I think. He's really starting to get his passion and love back for the game, along with his confidence. He's calling for the ball and making moves and going for it. Which is so nice to see. We measured him this week on the wall in the hallway where we've been marking the kids growing progress and believe it or not, the kid has grown about 2" in the last month alone!! Kaelin too. Wow!
Kaelin's U11 Red Magic Team won the West Linn U12 Tourney!
Even though it can be cold and WET, I love watching my kids play soccer. I'd face anything to sit there and watch them play the game they love and do well at it. Makes my heart smile. :)

HOpe you all have a weekend that will make your hearts smile too!

We have 3 soccer games on Sat, 1 on Sunday and Spencer's having an overnight and game of Dungeons and Dragons on Saturday. Fun stuff! It was fun for the kids to have Thurs/Fri off of school too. The 8th grade boys went to Laserport on Thursday and had a blast playing Laser TAg and were nice enough to let Kaelin play too! Fun to talk to the moms too.


Monday, October 6, 2008

Friday Writings (Ramblings?)

From my Write Around Portland Writing Workshop last Friday, Oct. 3rd:

Prompts to choose from:
1. The Rain...
2. True strength is...

True Strength
by Shauna Berglund-Immel

True strength isn't something you can train for. You can't go to a gym and lift weights, do crunches or run on the treadmill for it or improve it. It's not something you can buy or borrow. It's something that's just there, inside you, and you might not even know it's there.

It lies deep inside you, gathering strength in your heart and soul until the time arises when it's called upon to get you through tough times. It feeds off of the love and support of those around you and allows you to go on, when you don't think it's possible to do so.

We then were asked to tear a page out of our journal and write our age on it and then pass it to the right. Whichever age was on the paper, was your prompt. You were to write about "when you were..." or "when you are..." the age on the paper.

by Shauna Berglund-Immel

When and IF I even make it to age 55, I will rejoice.
I will scream from the rooftops with joy.
I will dance in the streets with abandon.
I will celebrate with my own personal parade.
Hell, I may even rip off all of my clothes and run naked through the streets, leading my parade!

For IF I make it to age 55, it means that cancer hasn't won. It means
that I beat the odds.
That I dodged a bullet.
That I was able to squeeze 13 more years out of my life.
That I was able to see my son become a man, graduate from high school and college and perhaps even marry and have a child of his own.
That I was able to see my beautiful, talented daughter blossom into the stunning woman that I know she is meant to be.
That I will get to be there to see both of my children realize some of their dreams (and mine) and cheer them on in the process.
That I will get to be there to catch them when they fall. It also means
that I will have 13 more years with my best friend, my husband, and grown a little bit older and wiser together. Perhaps becoming grandparents together.

If I make it to age 55, it means that I looked cancer in the face and I fought my way, tooth and nail, through 13 years of hell, like a warrior. That I wasn't just another statistic.

I can't wait for age 55 and all it brings. I will celebrate each and every step of the way, living life to the fullest. I look forward to the day that I reach age 55 and laugh in cancer's face.

Our leader then took out a paper bag and placed a bunch of objects on the table for us to choose from. I was drawn to a purple crayon. We were then asked to close our eyes and hold the object in our hand. Then we had 2' to write a list about our object. The following is my list:

  • waxy
  • fits perfectly in my hand
  • energy
  • paper in contrast to wax
  • purple = hope
  • possibilities
  • imagination
  • like a finger, an extension of my hand
  • smooth
  • point is worn down, used often. Favorite color?
  • shape
  • molded
  • perfection
  • color
  • vibrant
  • tool
  • color of grapes
  • violet/purple
We were then given a couple of prompts to choose from and write about:

1. It reminds me...
2. Look at this...

A Purple Crayon
by Shauna Berglund-Immel

A crayon.
Not just a crayon,
but a purple crayon.

Purple symbolizing the color of hope.
I can hold it in the palm of my hand.
Wrap my fingers around it.
It fits perfectly in my hand.
An extension of my hand.

Maybe even my heart.
A purple heart.
Symbolizing bravery, honor and hope.

A crayon.
A purple crayon.
So full of possibilities.
Ready to take my hopes and dreams
and put them to paper for all to see.

So full of energy.
Dancing on the page
like a ballerina on the stage.

So smooth and shapely.
So vibrant and playful.
So bold and unafraid.
So regal and proud.

A crayon.
A purple crayon.

Thanks for reading!

The weekend soccer photos will have to wait until tomorrow.

Spencer and the 8th Grade Catlin Gabel team won their soccer game tonight 5 - 1. Spencer played great. So proud of him and glad to see him step up and be aggressive and call for the ball. He made some great moves too. Who knew he had all that in his little scrawny body? Stopped at Panera for dinner. We've never eaten there before, and the kids loved it! They got chicken noodle soup in a bread bowl. I got an Asian Chicken Sesame salad. The cool thing is that they use chicken without nitrates, additives, hormones, etc! Gotta love that. And fresh bread, who can resist? They have a game tomorrow in Corbett. Which is down in the gorge area. Windy and cold! I don't think I'm going to make that one. I'll go to Kaelin's soccer scrimmage instead. Spencer has another game on Wednesday. I've watched more soccer over the last few weeks....but I love it!!! Bring it!

Enjoy your Mondays and the rest of the week! Thanks for reading! Remember to live life to the fullest each and every single day!


I'm alive....

Just crazy insane busy! Spent the weekend in the rain at 7 (or was it 8?) soccer games after a tough chemo week. My house is a mess. I've got laundry to do. Groceries to shop. Bills to pay. Tivoed shows to watch. Books to read. Crossword puzzles to solve. Blogs to write on.... but it will all have to wait as I'm off to another soccer game today for Spencer's Catlin Gabel team and then games on both Tues and Wed too! Reno take me away................................. lol I'm off now but will try and get on tonight and post pix of the weekend and some more of my writings from my friday writing workshop. Big xoxoxoxo to all!!!!!