Sunday, May 19, 2013
Something tells me that the days ahead are going to require some serious infusions of laughter. That is certainly the case this morning, as I begin the packing to go to my Aunt Mary Ann's funeral and also try to get my "chemo bag" together for Wednesday's first treatment.
Good lord, I could use a belly laugh.
I feel a watching of Groundhog Day or something Monty Python-esque or the campy goodness of Galaxy Quest or even the gloriousness that is The Princess Bride in my future today.
If you had to list your top 5 favorite comedy movies, what would they be? Not just something that is a bit pithy or droll -- I mean the ones that make you laugh until you almost pee your pants, wiping away tears that are rolling down your cheeks and holding your belly because you cannot catch your breath from laughing so loudly.
If you had a friend who needed a pick-me-up, which funny movie would you bring over to watch?
Do tell...because I am in need of a serious pick me up.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
"What next?" she asks. "Whatever comes, I will still be standing."
Not to throw out a giant "bring it on" to the universe or anything (because heaven knows we truly could use a break for a little while), but I am grateful for so much in my life. And nothing that gets thrown at me is going to shake that.
Whatever comes next, we will absolutely still be standing. Together.
This week, I've been doing a lot of research on chemo side effects, and how to deal with nutrition during treatment and the various issues that crop up that prevent you from eating or drinking well. Since I cannot control anything about how my body will react, I suppose that trying to come up with ways to deal with all the possible variables of aftermath is my Type A way of coping.
We've started putting together a "chemo bag," filled with fun stuff like a small travel pillow for napping (optimism at its best, eh?) and a wrap in case the room is super cold, and maybe even a small blanket for the same reason. Eventually, there will also be lots of water, a few light snacks, some unscented hand cream and some lip balm, a small notebook and pen for recording information and symptoms after each treatment, a few hard candies and maybe some ginger ones if I can find some before next Wednesday, and an extra sweatshirt just in case my IV leaks (I've heard lots of "go home in a hospital gown" stories).
If anyone has a good recommendation for a ginger candy, I'd love it. Am planning on at least taking a little baggie of crystallized real ginger chips.
I've loaded a couple of funny books on my kindle, tucked away a couple of as yet unread magazines, and Mr. ReddHedd has loaded some books from Audible that he thinks I will like on my iPhone as well.
If anyone has other tips to share -- from personal experience or from helping a friend or family member -- I'd love them.
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith at 9:40 AM
Friday, May 17, 2013
Yesterday, the world lost a dear, dear soul, with a heart so big there were times that I could not believe her body could contain it. My Aunt Mary Ann Hardin Moberg passed away yesterday, and my world is the poorer for losing her.
She was eight years older than me, and growing up we were more like sisters and playmates than aunt and niece. When I was born, she thought of me as her little dress-up doll, and loved to take me for a ride in her doll stroller whenever my parents brought me over to the house to see my grandparents.
We baked cookies together, with my Mama always letting us each have our own spoon so we wouldn't fight over who got a taste of the batter next. We helped cut grapes in half for fruit salad for holiday meals, and tried very hard to share the last slice of mama's homemade chocolate cream pie.
We shared a mutual ability to make dogs and babies very happy, and we both loved Lancelot, the family scottie dog, more than anything else in the whole world the summer I stayed a lot with my grandparents while my mom was completing her master's degree. I cannot ever recall her meeting a dog that didn't instantly love her on sight, mostly because she was a practiced spoiler, always ready with a scratch and a treat for a doggie who needed a little more attention.
She had the most infectious giggle, and she dearly loved to laugh.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
This is the week where I finally hit the emotional wall. Where taking that next step and maintaining a sunny disposition has become too much. Where looking on the bright side and keeping my chin up feels like a load of malarkey that I'll never be able to sell to anyone else, let alone myself.
We keep moving forward anyway. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and trying to find a silver lining in the enormously piled up clouds on my horizon, clouds filled with toxic chemo and radiation and all sorts of physical and emotional nasties. Clouds so heavy and full that they are threatening to drag me under today.
This week is the first time in all of this morass of breast cancer where the undertow of fear and grief and the unknown is threatening to drag me down. And that scares me, not just for my own sake but also for my family.
I could literally lose myself altogether in this fear.
It is definitely going to be a day of taking long, deep, cleansing breaths and figuring out how I can allow some cracks in my cheery facade, some fear and grief and tears to seep through, without drowning myself in all of this. But I cannot afford to start off next week feeling this shaky.
It's time to put on my big girl panties and find that inner core of strength again. Not just for my sake, but for my family as well.
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith at 9:34 AM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
This morning, to our horror, we realized that The Peanut does not recall watching The Princess Bride with us just last summer. Absolutely no memory of the movie whatsoever.
Oh. The shame.
Clearly that will need to be remedied forthwith.
She cannot go through life any further without understanding the true meaning of "As you wish." Or making jokes about rodents of unusual size, or fearing a land war in Asia, or knowing who Inigo Montoya is.
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith at 7:12 AM
Monday, May 13, 2013
Right now, I am facing down the prospect of beginning chemotherapy next week, with all of its nasty side effects and potential hazards and pitfalls staring me right in the face. And what am I worrying about this morning, you ask?
Whether I should order some Spanx for an upcoming event that I will be attending.
I got a Spanx catalog in the mail, and looking at it has me obsessing about my muffin top in a formal gown. And how high of a higher power I need to suck it in so I'll look sleek in my dress.
As if that matters right now, right? Yet here I am, stuck in girlie brain mode, obsessing about my faults, worrying about things like wigs and all the other superficial nonsense because that is my girlie brain default mode.
Internally, I know that none of this matters. But somewhere, deep down, a little voice is telling me that I should order two pairs of Spanx and double up for more holding power.
Why do we do this to ourselves, ladies? Honestly, why???!!!???
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Saturday, May 11, 2013
We got my oncotype results back yesterday. Looks like the tumor characteristics are really aggressive, which is not the best of news.
When you add in how far against my chest wall this little sucker was buried along with the test results? You get a team of doctors who do not want to take any chances that we have left any traces of microtumors behind to metastasize.
They are recommending that the next step is chemo. As much as that scares the bejeebers out of me, I have to agree with them.
My first chemo infusion will be on May 22nd.
That also happens to be our 20th wedding anniversary. We had hoped to spend it in Paris this year. Sadly, not so much. Instead, I'll be sipping a radioactive cocktail through my veins and trying not to barf all over my husband when I get home. Ahhhhhhh, the romance.
But you have to find a way to laugh anyway, don't you? To counteract the lack of Paris, I'll be playing Edith Piaf nonstop for the next two weeks just for kicks. Why not, right?
Have I mentioned lately that cancer sucks?
No matter how right the decision to do chemo may be, it is going to well and truly suck for the next few weeks. There just is no getting around it.
Friday, May 10, 2013
Apparently, at a Star Trek convention in London, they got all of the actors who played captains on the various Star Trek franchise series together on one stage.
William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, Kate Mulgrew, Avery Brooks, and Scott Bacula...hilarious stuff. The panel is being interviewed by John Barrowman, who plays Captain Jack on Doctor Who and Torchwood. Holy cow!
The camera work is a little hinky, because it is a fan in the crowd who is filming. But the back and forth with everyone is a hoot and a half. Enjoy!
PS -- I giggled like a little girl at about 14:45 or so. Seriously funny.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
As May whizzes by me, heading directly toward June and the end of the school year, I have begun to contemplate what our summer might look like this year.
That's a bit difficult to do, mind you, because I still haven't gotten my test results back from the additional oncotype testing on the tumor that was removed, and thus still have no idea whether I'll be facing chemo or radiation next...makes it incredibly difficult to plan a summer's worth of activities for my 10 year old when I can't even make treatment plans for myself.
But because I am a planner, I'm trying to at least come up with some back-up options nonetheless. Just in case. And mostly because I fear we'll be stuck inside a lot due to me being exhausted from whatever treatment is thrown my way, and I want to have some fun things on hand to mitigate the eternal boredom of my wee girlie should the issue arise.
Or, at the very least, figure out some outdoorsy things we can do that won't require an enormous expenditure of energy for me. Picnics spring to mind or outdoor tea parties or something like that, perhaps.
On my Pinterest page, I've been collecting ideas on my "Fun With My Daughter" board, and also on my "Fun and Crafty" board. I'll be collecting ideas in earnest this week and hope to have some great possibilities to share with everyone over the weekend.
One thing we will almost certainly do at some point, and something we have done before, is a little Alice in Wonderland themed tea party. It's our own little "girls night" ritual on evenings when dad is out of town, and The Peanut still loves to just hang out with tea sandwiches and conversation when we get time (free time hasn't been frequent of late, let me tell you, which is a really good reason to try ad make this happen a little more regularly this summer). Our oldest niece is coming out to stay with us for a few weeks this summer, so perhaps we'll wait until she gets here and have a "tea for three" party instead.
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Here's my little sting of the day (as opposed to some Sting, which is where the YouTube comes in):
If my belly fat roll gets any bigger, I will be forced to buy new pants in the next size up. The cancer comfort eating has to stop.
Today begins a new regime of better eating and an attempt at more movement.
The breast cancer is no excuse. And, in fact, ought to be motivation to do much, much better. My jeans waistband will thank me.
(YouTube -- Sting singing Desert Rose.)
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith at 9:13 AM
Monday, May 6, 2013
Mother's Day will be on May 12th this year. It is fast approaching.
Although I already have gifts ready for the mothers in our life, there are a number of things that I have found through the years that are widely beloved and worth some consideration.
For the gardening enthusiast:
-- The Southern Living Garden Book -- for great pictures and even better practical advice.
-- Gift cards for Lowes or Home Depot or cash for use at local nurseries (where I often find my best plants, honestly).
For the cooking and home enthusiast:
-- Laurie Colwin's classics: Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen (Vintage Contemporaries) and More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen. These books are comfort in page form and just wonderful to read.
-- Mastering the Art of French Cooking (2 Volume Set)
-- At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom
-- Or a basket of food-related movies along with some favorite movie candy or snacks and/or a cookbook is always fun. Some movies you might consider:
- Big Night;
- Julie and Julia;
- Like Water for Chocolate;
- Eat Drink Man Woman;
- Tortilla Soup;
- Sideways; and/or
- Bottle Shock.
For the travel enthusiast:
There are a lot of authors and book ideas here.
Also, for the Paul Theroux lovers out there, he has a new travel book coming out that looks quite good: The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari. Love his travel writing, it is always wonderfully descriptive and pretty much good for a laugh every few pages.
Posted by Christy Hardin Smith at 2:25 PM