Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is it about boobs?

The Cracker has a runny nose, which he likes to pick and rub and share. I am a reverse germaphobe. I don't want my kid infecting others. I'm totally insecure and I worry about what you'll think of me.

So he has this stupid runny nose cold, and OMG he's so whinny and overtired. Finally, we have to go out, because you know, holidays, gifts, stores being closed for a day...gah.

J, "Stop picking your nose!"
Me, "Stop touching things! And if you have to touch something use your sleeve!"


The Cracker walks up to a female manequin bust and pokes it right in the nipple like he's ringing a damn doorbell.
Me, "CRACKER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I've spent the last week in holiday overdrive, giving it my all to make up for lost time. I started with cards, finished the shopping, did the mailing, and am now making a last ditch effort to celebrate what's left of the season with the Cracker. Friday night I declared "fuck bedtime! Let's decorate the tree!" Saturday and Sunday I provided support as the Cracker painstakingly hand painted 24 double-sided ornaments for friends and family. Monday morning we wrapped and tagged them. After that we started an art memory book for my parents. He finger painted, watercolored, cut and pasted, rubber stamped, collaged, journaled, illustrated with pens and crayons, and then covered every square inch of it all with glitter glue. After 6 long hours, just as the Cracker was dreaming up a colored sand mural, I declared craft day over. I hauled ass down to Walgreens, in the dark, in the snow, where I learned that 1 hour prints that were due to be done 5 hours ago were not done, because the machine was broken, has been broken, and will be broken indefinitely. Fuck me. Tomorrow, I will try deal with getting the photos printed elsewhere so we can finish the book, and then move on to decorating gingerbread houses. I also hope to get an assload of laundry done as we plan to spend Christmas with the in-laws in Colorado, which is like two days from now. Ha!

More than one good friend has told me that I don't need to do this, more or less that I shouldn't because I need to give myself a break. What they don't understand is that I have to do this, and that I did take a break, and now it's time to rejoin the world. There will be more breaks later, but not this week. I have this amazing 5 year old who has been really good this year, who doesn't yet understand why his mom has been so off the ball lately, who is beyond excited about Christmas just like every 5 year old should be, who is about to have his whole world shattered just as soon as J and I can get together one evening after the kids are asleep and outline the discussion, make sure to list the key points, and prep for his questions, this discussion I hope to have after Christmas but before school starts but not at the in-law's.


In other news, Ollie is non-traditionally crawling. It very closely resembles traditional crawling...but it's not. Also in other news, Ollie *loves* shoes. No, really, little girlfriend *really*super*duper*hearts* shoes, and laces have nothing to do with it. While we've known about her shoe fetish for quite some time, it seems to be surpassing cute and heading for the unknown. Over the weekend Jason set her down in her room and she shot off in the opposite direction like an arrow with an obvious purpose in mind. "What's she doing?" "Looking for shoes." "No, really." "Watch." Shoooooz! Tonight when Jason got home from work he absent mindedly kicked off his shoes in the kitchen and got to work. Ollie saw his shoes, squealed in pure delight, and hauled ass like he'd never seen. A minute later, from the other side of the house I heard the most pissed off shriek ever heard in the history of the world followed by lots of screaming. "What did you do to her?" "I took my shoes back when she started to lick the undersides." "Oh, okay then."


My mom is making plans that include her not being here next holiday season, at least if in body not in mind. It's hard. We've talked about next year's holiday cards, and how I will make sure everyone knows why she is not sending them herself. I cry as quietly as I can on the other end of the phone. Slowly she is letting the people she cares about know, but there are so many old Vietnam-era Navy friends, etc, that they have not seen in years and never plan on seeing again, with whom they still exchange holiday wishes. Those are the people who will need to know.

I have been slowly telling my own friends, and asking the friends who I am in the most frequent contact with to spread the word to other good friends. I just cannot keep telling the same story over and over. Talk about it? Yes, sometimes I need to pour my heart out. But start from scratch? No no no no no no. It's just too much. There is another issue: I suspect one or two people, who are less friends and more acquaintances, that heard it through the grapevine, are people that I need to part ways with. They seem less interested in us, and more interested in having a front row seat for the inevitable train wreck. Thanks, but no thanks.

I am lucky to have some really wonderful friends. A card, an e-mail that says I'm thinking of you, those are the things that count right now. And the funny things they are doing to make me smile, like posting "Have you seen my underwear?" on my FB wall. But the phone won't stop ringing, and it makes me want to take a really big hammer to it Office Space style. Occasionally it's people I want to talk to, but most of the time it's not. The phone needs to shut the fuck up. We used to have caller ID, but canceled it as almost everyone was "unknown." I suspect that all these years later it's even worse. But if it's not, sign me up.

Tonight my mom reiterated that my dad is having a really hard time. Then she proceeded to tell me that he has decided he doesn't want her things around once she is gone. That I can have what I want, that she's shown him where all her jewelry is, what family heirlooms she wants to see stay in the family, etc, but that he is going to want it out of the house quickly, so that he isn't constantly surrounded by her. It's not that I think this is wrong, but I do think he may regret it later. It's also that I cannot even imagine taking this step right now -- please don't ask me to. It's all too fast. I hope he changes his mind.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

Not Enough Time

The pathology is in: stage IV Glioblastoma multiforme, otherwise known as GBM, the "most malignant" of brain tumors.

With successful resection plus radiation and chemo the median survival rate is 12 months. The two year survival rate is nuh uh, rare, under 3%.

I can't swallow.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Older Than Older Than Dirt

"Because when you were little things weren't so colorful."
"Well, you know, they hadn't invented all the colors yet."

Waiting, Revisited, Again

No results yesterday. Now Monday.

I think I'll leave it at "No comment."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

First Snowball

This is eventually not about cancer, if you can get that far.

Last night, in what I can only assume was the universe trying to make nice, our area was gifted with first snowfall of the season. I seriously heart snow. But snow, even first of the season on my actual birthday, does not trump moms with brain tumors. Denied.

In the one-thing-I-have-to-get-done-today-or-I-will-go-mad errand, we dropped by the Cracker's old preschool, to drop off...wait for it, wait for it...our contribution for a family who was with us there last year, who has the most beautiful and sweet 6.5 year old twin boys you will ever meet, who just lost their father to cancer. Good times.

While there Ollie and I were invited to join them for a snack of snow one of the teachers had collected early this morning. Armed with a big ice cream scoop they were dishing out the most perfect snowballs of "ice cream" and dusting them with cocoa powder. Ollie, of course, passed on the toppings, but was delighted nonetheless. Turns out snow is totally something she digs, and she doesn't dig much in the way of food these days. Finally, fed up with the tiny bites at a snail's pace I was offering off of a spoon, she lurched forward and grabbed the snowball out of the bowl with her own two little hands. For a good solid minute and a half she chomped away as happy as could be, a squirrel with her nut. But then she abruptly stopped, took a few seconds to reassess, and produced one of her blood curdling screams. I couldn't stop laughing as I tried to pry it out of her hands while she looked up at me through the rage with eyes that said "It's not the snowball that's the problem, it's that my hands are really fucking cold."

And then we all laughed some more. My Ollie, seven months and three weeks old, the ability to do and think independently, but not always at the same time.


Yesterday was another step forward towards rejoining the world, acting like a normal person. With it I found myself in a new stage of grief/acceptance/denial/whatever. Today it was even more evident.

As I sat and talked with my best local friends, most of whom were hearing the news for the first time, I did not cry. I hardly showed emotion at all. Robotic, even.

Yet they were crying. My friends have all met Nana and Pappy, the Alpha grandparents, many times. Heck, my parents laugh about getting recognized and greeted while out on their own here.

All I could think about was how cold-hearted I must look.

Later, back at my friend L's house, she and I talked some more. We often joke we're soul sisters, because she has this way of putting what I cannot into words, and vice versa. We have these deep long conversations that go incredible places and I always leave her feeling like I've just figured out the meaning of life. Oh...and she's a die-hard crunchy con Republican, btw.

"I've cried so hard that I've made myself ill. I'm so stressed that my period has been 5 days of spotting, so light that I'm not sure I can even call it spotting. That has never, ever happened to me before. But mostly, I am so tired. I cannot believe how tired I am. And I do still cry, just never at the appropriate times. It happens when my mind is blank, and before I can even register what is happening I'm sobbing hysterically. And I have zero idea what the fuck triggered it."

"You're so tired that you're numb."

Thank you.

Tomorrow we are expecting the pathology from UCSF. Pretty sure I am about to miss tired but numb.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


(I know not everyone lives in the Northern Hemisphere or celebrates holidays in December, but go with me here...)

You know how in January, after the New Year's festivities have passed, and the holiday decorations are down, and things are suddenly looking so bland, and colorless, and barren, and the bills are starting to come in, and it's too dark too friggin early, and too cold, and too windy, and things just kind of seem, for lack of a better word, yucky?

I feel like that now.

So what the hell is January going to feel like?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More Waiting

Wednesday was The Big Oncology Appointment. The results = inconclusive.

Upon examination during surgery they thought it (the tumor) was an astrocytoma. It was then sent off to pathology to be graded, stage I-IV. Turns out there are two tumor types present: astrocytoma AND lymphoma, just from the one biopsy.

Dr. Google never mentioned that possibility.

So off it's been sent to UCSF, where in a week they hope to enlighten us on which is the bigger battle. I've been told to cheer for lymphoma, which has a brighter though still terminal outlook and would mean only chemo instead of a chemo/radiation combo. I will be the first to admit that I don't exactly understand all of this, and as much as it makes me crazy itchy to keep my mouth shut, I just can't bring myself to ask my mom to elaborate until the final diagnosis is in.

No matter which way you spin it the outlook is grim: there is no cure, just the possibility of buying time.

Happy fucking holidays.