Monday, November 17, 2008

Escape to Seattle

So I decided to pack my bags and head to Seattle for the Scrapbook Expo after my last Writing Workshop on Friday! (Regardless of the fact that my Jeep was undrivable because it's leaking oil and waiting to be fixed and then on Thursday night my mom's old car, the Suzuki that I was driving, began steaming and smoking from the engine! Turns out the hose had come loose from the radiator). Dave let me take his car and leave him car-less! Luckily the Suzuki was an easy fix and he wasn't car-less for long.

I decided last minute to run away and escape my life as "Shauna the Cancer Patient" and get lost in the sea of scrapbookers where I could just be "Shauna, another face in the crowd!" I also thought that I was ready to be inspired again with scrapbooking. And to see what I've missed since being let go from my job as a scrapbook page designer for the last 9 years (because of that darn cancer!).

It was the perfect day for a drive, with the sun shining bright and the blue skies after a week of rain. My CT scan wasn't until Tuesday and my oncologist had given me the week off of chemo. Do you know how amazing it felt to feel good 2 whole weeks in a row???? OMG it rocked!!!!!! I wish it could/would last!!!

I got into Tukwila/Renton around 4:30pm, along with everyone else in the state of Washington on a Friday it seemed! Instead of sitting in traffic for several hours to get the rest of the way to Bellevue and stay at the host hotel, the Hilton, I decided to consult "Ruby" my trusty "smart phone" and her GPS system/directory and she directed me to a hotel nearby! I pulled up and stayed at the Clarion Hotel on East Valley Hwy in a non smoking room in a king sized bed, next to The Keg Restaurant and across the street from a 13 plex cinema. Does it get any better than that??? (Only if the water would have been hotter and they had more pillows...). They had free WiFi and the windows opened for fresh air and the curtains pulled shut so in the morning it was still pitch black in there like it was night and I could sleep in!!! :) It was quiet and peaceful and restful and AMAZING! Such a treat! I reccommend it to all of you moms out there! Just go down the street and stay in a hotel once a month to get away from your crazy, hectic life! It does wonders!!! No dishes. No laundry. No tidying up after anyone but yourself. Quiet. Peaceful. Restful. Ahhhhhh......................................

I walked over to The Keg to see if I could order take out and bring it back to the hotel. The hostess told me that I had to order from the bartender, so I went into the bar and decided it looked very inviting at the bar, in front of the big screen TV with the Laker game on. So I sat down and decided to eat at the bar. The manager asked me if I'd ever been there and when I said no, he brought me a free Shrimp Cocktail! Which I couldn't eat really, so I offered to share it with the couple on my left and the gentleman on my right. That opened up conversation and I had a great time chatting away with them! They didn't treat me any different or feel sorry for me or know me as "Shauna the Cancer Patient", so I forgot about my cancer and troubles and had a blast just being me! Turns out the couple actually have a house in Canby, OR (where my work was located and I worked at for the last 9 years!), that they lived on Oahu in Hawaii (I went to 6th and 7th grade there) and that the gal was a big time scrapbooker! When I told her why I was in town she got all excited and planned on attending the expo the next day too! The food was excellent (I had a baked potato and steamed asparagus, water and diet pepsi) and the company was fun. I meant to go see a movie, but was having too much fun at the bar. It was nice to be transported out of my cancer life for a short while. Loved it!!!!

Saturday I headed to Bellevue for the convention and had the best time socializing again! I sat down at a table for lunch and because it had 3 extra chairs, people kept coming over to share my table (seats/tables were few and far between!). In the process we would chit chat and make friends! I sat for awhile and probably saw 3-4 waves of groups sitting with me. It was fun to run into them on the show floor afterwards. I went alone but left with more friends than I started with! Some of them took my name and address to keep in touch. I have to say that scrapbookers are really really GOOD people! Big hearts!!!

I visited with my friend Laura. She worked at the Boxer booth with my other friends Angie and Vicky. Here's a photo of Laura and I...
Laura was so sweet and bought me a tshirt at the show that says "I Fight Like a Girl" and has a pink ribbon symbolizing cancer on it. Thanks Laura! You rock. :)

I then was shopping in the Simply Swank booth and the owner, who is demo-ing the product, says to me "I love your hair". I had to look around because there was no way she was talking to me? Me with the salt and pepper hair now post chemo. Me with the salt and pepper CURLY out of control hair post chemo. Me??? Is she insane? Me that looks in the mirror and doesn't recognize herself and wishes she could color her hair. Wishes she had her straight hair back. Not this uncontrolable afro mass of salt and pepper curls. Really, you talking to me??? I had to tell her how she made my day by saying that! That led to the whole story of me losing my hair and it growing back with "chemo curls" etc.! I stood in her little booth and talked to her for hours! She was so much fun! Loved her. And in that big, expo hall full of overwhelming amounts of scrapbook supplies, her little corner with out of the oridnary supplies was a welcome retreat. A safe haven. I spent a pretty penny in her booth, buying soldering tools to make xmas ornaments, necklaces, bracelets, photo frames, etc! What fun I will have! And anyone who wants to come play with me!!! Check out her website! She says Craft Warehouse carries her product. Fun stuff.

The next place I stopped was the Melissa Franis booth. I was drawn to the beautiful vintage products and bought a wooden block letter "I" for Immel! I was also drawn to the booth because I had read on her blog that she was battling cancer herself and had designed some cancer related products and I was so thrilled. Guess who rang up my purchase and was working in her own booth? Melissa Francis herself! I asked her how she was doing and one thing led to another and we're hugging and squeezing and talking and crying and ranting and raving and bonding!! It was amazing to be in the presence of someone who understands. Who gets it. Who knows what's it like. To be a survivor. To be a fighter. To be a chemo/cancer patient. To live with emotional trauma etc. It was really really special for me. I think I was meant to go to that show, just so I could connect with her. I believe that it was fate that we meet. How cool is that? She gave me her email and we're going to keep in touch and cheer each other on in our fight. :) Here'a a photo of the two of us....
Doesn't she look fabulous? I think she must have thought I was stalking her, since I kept going by her booth LOL

To top off my fabulous Saturday, I met my sister in law Jennifer and my sweet, adorable niece Ella Enchanted at Red Robin for dinner! My brother is in Paris, France, so I missed him this time around but hope to see him at Thanksgiving. I got a big hug from my niece and she was excited to see me, which made me feel so good! She's a girly girl and loves all things pink, so it's fun to get to be in the presence of a little enchanted princess!

I wish we lived closer and we were all less busy so we could see each other more. The holidays will be nice to reconnect.

After dinner I decided not to drive back to the hotel in Bellevue and I went back to my favorite hotel from the night before and had a restful, relaxing, heavenly night full of crossword puzzles, football and laying in bed doing nothing at all!

I called/texted my friends around town before locking my keys in my car at 7-11 in downtown Kent and having to call Roadside Assistance....which put me on the road much later than planned. But I wasn't in a hurry. I wasn't stressed out about it. I used the time waitiing for roadside assistance to read the paper and start the crossword puzzle. AFter I finally got on the road, I stopped in Centralia to eat and decided to sit and do the crossword at a leisurely pace. I finally got back into town around 8ish or so. I really wasn't in a hurry and didn't want my weekend to end! I liked being away from my life of cancer. I didn't think about cancer all weekend except my expo experience. I was just me. Anonymous. It was a very small version of Reno, but it was so healing. Just what the doctor ordered!

Today I baked Monster Cookies and went to lunch at a Korean restaurant with other Catlin Gabel 8th grade moms. It's great to have a 3rd week in a row off of chemo after doing chemo every other Mon- Wed for the last year. To feel good. Almost normal for 3 weeks in a row. Wow!!! It's amazing how much more energy I have. How much more I can accomplish. How much more hopeful and energized I am.

I hope my CT scan goes well tomorrow. Everyone please cross your fingers, toes, arms, legs, eyes and heart for me! Think good thoughts! I want the holidays off of chemo! I want this feeling of freedom to last!!!

Enough rambling....
Thanks for reading this far if you made it. LOL


Paris said...

Soooooo happy that you could escape.... and that you had such a fabulous time!! Just what you needed and deserved. Just love all the pics and stories. Except for the locking the keys in the car, it sounds like the perfect getaway :) Good luck today... I will be thinking of you. Love you, p

Laura Nicholas said...

I am so glad you had a wonderful weekend. It was so nice to see you and you are welcome for the shirt. Wear it proudly my friend. Now back to the chaos of everyday right??? I will be thinking of you today and keeping toes, fingers and everything crossed for good results.


Jean said...

WOW, I'm so glad you got to get away. I loved reading about everything you did! Love the pics too! Hang in there and good luck today!!

Anonymous said...

You're such a strong woman, and inspiration to us all! Thanks for helping us with tear down, I appreciate it. Was wonderful to see you there, and you are looking fabulous! Big hugs...

Katie Hacker said...

So glad you had a great weekend! Thinking good thoughts for you today. And P.S., I like your hair, too.

Nightscrapper said...

I"m so thrilled that you got to go out and enjoy yourself like you used to. Sounds like you had a great time and caught up with some friends. You look great in the pics.

Soochal said...

Sounds wonderful, I'm so glad you had the chance to meet such amazing people and to just be...

Thank you for my card. It came yesterday and I really needed it. I absolutely adore you, Shauna, and am so thankful to have you in my life.

I can't wait to see you in April/May (still not sure when yet)! XXOO

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a perfect weekend. I was fun hearing the excitement in your writing and it reminded me so much of how you felt in Reno. When I read that you made the same connection, twas an aha moment.

Now tell me, why don't we sneak away and do girlfriend time more often?

Love you...and I too so love your hair,'s absolutely adorable.