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Today is just tomorrow’s yesterday…

June 4, 2013

Yesterday was “one of those” days that are intrinsically comical on the outside looking in, but take a deep breath and a glass of wine to see any funny from the inside.

Yesterday started out as any other Monday.  I set my alarm to get up early and walk before work and snoozed it a couple times for no good reason other than I was enjoying my sleep and Chris fed the little monkey who always get up with the chickens, so take advantage, right?

It’s the little things.  They all add up.  I went upstairs to get the littlest monkey out of the crib that is still tenuously holding him in and everything was wet from his animal need to be naked and remove both his pajama pants and his diaper (time to bust out the duct tape) and I had to strip the bed.  I brought him downstairs for breakfast and Monkey #1 had pulled all of her books off her book shelf.  We are big on books around here, so no small undertaking.  Struggle with said monkey to get them back on the shelf because it is housekeeper day.   By struggle, I mean, half wrestle small human into letting go of books, half wrestle said books back onto shelf, half wrestle small human into assisting with book replacement.  Wait, that is too many halfs.  I put Monkey #2 in his chair with a cereal bar and a banana and got in the shower.  I quickly exited the shower to the screams of “more, nann-O, Mommy! More chreeebo-bar!”  Enter Banana #2 and cereal bar #2.  I will pay for that second banana later, I thought to myself, no maybe, Mrs. Leslie will pay for it before I pick him up this afternoon.

After changing my clothes once because I failed to remove the lingerings of bananas #1 and #2 from his chubby baby, man hands and throwing the weirdest amalgam of edible things into a lunch bag for lunch, I was off to work.  I don’t know what to say about mornings at our house except that, with having six weeks off and this being my first Monday back to work, I am seriously out of practice.

My work day was uneventful.  Blissfully, quietly, uneventful.  I quietly ate my avocado, hard boiled egg, pear, and cheese stick and did my thing.  Then I got in the car.

One hour and fifteen minutes later I completed the normally twenty-five minute trip from my workplace to daycare due to road closings and traffic messes and general frustration.  At least I got more time with my current audiobook, right?

Re-enter my monkees.  When I picked them up from Daycare there were excited announcements of “ I am not a poopy-pants, Mommy.  I pooped in the potty!”  Yay!  Let’s celebrate.  I had promised ice cream and ice cream I delivered.  I have the two sweetest most entertaining children on the planet but last night they were more than I could handle.  Where did these loud, spitting, crawling, fit-throwing things come from and WHERE ARE MY CHILDREN?  And I fed them ice cream.  My kids don’t get much sugar.  My kids actually get very little sugar.  That is to say, when my kids get sugar, they FEEL the sugar.  Between the very late daycare pick-up, the ice cream, the balloon man at the ice cream restaurant, and the very loud and raucous singing on the way home, by the time we hit the door, I was racing against time to get them settled in the bed before the crash.

I almost made it.  When I had gotten Tenzing upstairs, gotten his diaper changed and pajamas on and started getting toothbrushes ready, I noticed Amelia downstairs in the living room, curled under her fuzzy red blanket and knew it was too late.

Bring on the wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Ah well, in my best Scarlet frame of mind, tomorrow is another day!


Lawn mowing and existentialism

May 16, 2013

Today is Wednesday. We are only halfway through the week and I have already heard of three deaths by melanoma. I didn’t personally know any of the three women who died but I knew of them and there are only a couple degrees of separation for any of them. I didn’t know them but I certainly understood them. All three were young. All three had melanoma. Any of the three could easily be me.

Needless to say, my mood last night was dark. We had dinner and put the kids to bed and then just talked about it for a little while. We have been living for a year now with cancer and doom and lurking death and we had put it away. Just for a little while. I was feeling recovered from surgery, we don’t have another melanoma appointment until June. Chris was feeling confident that I was doing well. We just wanted the monkey off our backs for a couple weeks.

Sartre says that everyone should live with death on their shoulder. Living that way keeps us authentic and in the moment. I don’t think I agree. Living with death on your shoulder keeps you living scared. Always afraid that this could be the last time I…fill in the blank. Always afraid of missed opportunity or regret.

I refuse it. I reject it. I do not accept it. I chose life! I choose everyday to live with life, bright and shining, radiating on my shoulder. I choose that method of living with authenticity. I choose life as the barometer for what I should do today. I choose life as my primary motivator.

Life is not weaker than death. It is powerful and strong and inspirational. It is not death I fear, but a life unimagined! I feel like that is quoting someone but I may have just made that up.

I mowed my yard today. Not because I should have because I am totally not suppose to be doing anything quite that physical for another week or so. I didn’t mow it because it needed it, although it most certainly did–the only days that Chris has been home before 8:00pm the last two weeks, it has been raining. I mowed it because I was mad. I was mad at death. I was mad at cancer. I was mad at being told what I could and could not do. I was mad that my choices seemed to have been made for me. So I mowed. Because if nothing was wrong with me, I would have mowed. Because if I was going to live then I better act like it. Because I refuse to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself today. I choose life!

When I came inside from the yard, I was flipping through Facebook and saw this post: you matter, you are equipped and you are needed. You are part of the Plan. Since I read that I have been singing a children’s song over and over and over– I am a Promise. I am a possibility. I am a Promise with a capital P. I am a great big bundle of potential-ity. And I am learning to hear Gods voice and I am trying to make the right choice, I am a Promise to be anything God wants me to be!

My story isn’t written yet. Is yours?


It is not Mother’s Day!

May 15, 2013

Happy Tuesday After Mother’s Day!

I am writing this a little belated because I have been busy and distracted and celebrating Mother’s Day since Sunday.

By celebrating, I mean remembering and missing my mother and reveling in how big my kids have gotten and how, overnight, they seem to have moved from the baby category to the kid category. They are amazing.

This is the third time the calendar has passed this day since my mother died and it is one of my sister’s hardest days. It is actually a difficult day for both of us, I think, but this year the gut wrenching missing has turned into melancholy reminiscence. I haven’t decided if it is better, worse, or just different.

The outcome of this melancholy has turned into some industriousness in honor of my mother. I made strawberry jam and relish this week. Like, put it in jars and canned it and everything. I think my mother would be proud of me and laugh at me a little bit,too. Yes, there was a lot of canning and “putting up” when I was growing up but it was as much out of necessity as anything else and while I am completely corporate and modern, I like the availability of having things at my disposal that I can list all of the ingredients and that I made all by myself. That and it’s yummy. And I have another week before I go back to work and I am going a little bit stir crazy.

Anyway, Happy Mother’s Day,

Love Song to a Nurse

May 10, 2013

In honor of Nurse’s Week, I am writing a post about my absolute favorite nurse in the world–my husband.

My husband is a nurse’s nurse. He is thorough and compassionate and caring. He is educated and political and methodical. He is a man’s man in a woman’s world and he thrives. He is a consummate professional and the best damn diagnostician I have ever met, nurse or not.

Chris and I met at Western Baptist Hospital. He was working in the ED and I had just started my career on telemetry. We both ended up in the same critical care class. I think it was something about cardiac rhythms. I was sitting in the back row, as usual, and he came in late, as usual. For eight hours, I sat two rows back from the most beautiful head of hair that I have ever encountered. He asked too many questions and he should not have been wearing those shoes with those pants and he had the largest hands of anyone, ever.

I almost immediately moved into his apartment. Okay, he moved out first and I didn’t know it was his apartment until I was getting his mail, but what an excuse to go up to the ICU and meet him (he had transferred).

My husband has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Columbia University. He is a Diplomate of the Board of Comprehensive Care. He is a board certified in so many initials that I can not keep track. He works every day in neuro critical care. That means everyday he treats patients and families who are in crisis, have had life altering events, who have strokes and bleeds and aneurysms and tumors and prognosis. Almost all of his patients have a prognosis. It puts you in a different class of sick. He sits with them and explains things to them. Six, seven, eight times in a row, he tells them exactly what is going on because they are stressed and they can’t remember or there is more family that needs to understand. He is patient. He is very good at what he does.

We got to know each other over break working the night shift in the ICU. Long before we dated, we talked at lunch. About books and music and movies and life goals and dreams and travel. The same stuff we still talk about about. We worked the same weekend and the same swing shift. We spent a lot of time together. We helped each other admit patients, give bed baths, critically think through patient presentations and symptom management. He is the only nurse I have ever known that measured the soap ounce per ounce for a bed bath according to the manufacturer’s directions. He is exacting and precise and there is no one in the world that you would rather have taking care of you. And he takes excellent care of me. And our children.

My mother would listen to him as if he was the oracle of God. I could tell her fourteen times what she needed to do and it wouldn’t phase her. He would just suggest something and she would latch on to his suggestion as the best thing since sliced bread. He even took her to a couple of her initial oncology appointments.

He loves his job. His profession. He describes it as “meaningful work”. He is right. He is on call this week. He is sitting beside me right now viewing CT scans from a patient in the ED who has had stroke. He is on the phone with the other providers making a plan, saying words that most people don’t understand things like “lacunar” “TPA” “last known well” but mean something very important to the person that is lying there on the gurney. He is smart, that man, and wise, and experienced, and calm. Darn near unflappable. That is a great quality in a critical care environment. Unless there are maggots involved and then he is darn near useless. Fortunately, that doesn’t come up too often.

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of the wonderful and generous nurses in my life. Love and respect to all of you. You have poured into my life both professionally and personally in ways that I have difficulty defining or describing. It is an exclusive club, this nursing, and I am proud to be a member. Happy Nurse’s Week to my husband. I am proud of all you do both for your family and for strangers. I love you.

Movie night!

May 6, 2013


Day two of steroids and watching Brave.

Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me? I hate being allergic!

May 3, 2013


Radio Silence

May 2, 2013

I have been radio silent for weeks now and wanted to catch everyone up. We have been having a rough row to hoe these last several weeks and, frankly, have been in survival mode.

When last I posted, we had gotten word that my melanoma had reappeared in my pelvic lymph nodes and I was scheduled to meet with my surgeon to figure out what was next on my agenda. As it happens, I am now post op from that surgery–wide excision of right, pelvic lymph nodes. As it also turns out, pooping should never be taken for granted.

I thought I had done a pretty good job of talking about my surgery. I was pretty apprehensive about it and was saying it out loud as much as I could because I was hoping to normalize it by saying and hearing it. Seems as though I was saying it out loud only to the same handful of people over and over again. With the fifth or sixth telling, thanks for not saying, “Yeah, you told me bout the time!”

Anyway, recovery has been everything I anticipated. Of the six procedures I have had in the last year, I rank this one as a close second only to the groin lymph node excision and only because the muscle reconstruction limited my mobility for much longer than I was expecting with the first one. Better living through chemistry translates into Percocet, please! Laxative, yes, I’ll have another.

I have had my one year melanoma anniversary and did a quick tally: 6 surgical procedures, 4 hospitalizations, 8 rounds of antibiotics, 10 rounds of anti fungal medication (ladies), 4 months of exhausting Interferon, 87 doctors office visits, 4 bazillion prescriptions, 22 bazillion individual pills consumed, one amazing husband, two adorable children, one exceptional dad, one phenomenal sister and countless enduring family members and friends.

God is faithful! His will is life more abundant that I can ask or think.

I will try not to be such a stranger,