Om Namah Shivaya


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I've been thinking about the surgery a lot lately...

I was going through my calendar the other day when it hit me...*Wham!* a brick wall. There it was, "Friday Oct. 1st, start taking surgery meds". Then two weeks later, "Friday Oct. 15th, SURGERY DAY!" I stared at it unblinking, unthinking. "Is it already October? Aren't we only a few weeks into September?" Time flew away but hurled the fact that I'm having a *Double Mastectomy with Reconstruction* right up in my face. Crap. This is really gonna happen. They're really going to take my girls away from me (and who knows how much other tissue). I'm going to go to sleep the morning of Oct. 15th with the breasts I've had since I was, what, 15? And wake up with nothing. *Maybe* an A cup, but for all I know right now I may wake up flat as a pancake. That is going to be so friggin' weird. I'm trying hard not to think about it too much because in the long run there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. It has to happen. I have to go through this process to make sure I never have to go through it again (little baby Jesus willing). I have to accept it and find peace with it, which I partly do, but I mean come on it's a major mother truckin' surgery, who wouldn't have it on their mind!?

To tell the truth I'm not really worried about the surgery. I'm not worried about the healing. It's gonna suck hard, that's for sure, but I'm not worried about it. I'm not even worried about how it's all going to look in the end because I know I'll be in good hands and they'll make sure it looks fine. What I *AM* worried about is seeing myself for the first time after surgery; seeing where my girls used to be and what was left in their place. How I'm going to react, how I'm going to feel, how Tim's going to feel, how he's going to react. *That* is what I'm worried about. That is what's consuming my thoughts.

I wonder what's going to happen...

Friday, September 24, 2010

First time in 8 years

that I'm not going to the Carrollton marching competition tomorrow. If you read my previous post then you know that this last Chemo was not an easy one for me. Instead of being able to ride it out in relative peace and quiet, the universe had a completely different idea and boy has it taken it's toll (and more rain is expected tomorrow I don't think I have ever been that overwhelmed, nauseous, exhausted, scared, irritated, and dumb-founded. Ever. Because of all of that and the damn physical toll it has taken on me, and because it's supposed to rain *more* tomorrow night, I have decided to not go to our marching competition tomorrow. It makes me incredibly sad. because my situation is a double-edged sword. Either I go to Carrollton tomorrow and return late in the evening to find "Lake Stout" in our garage/utility room and thus after having expended energy at the competition I would then have to expend MORE energy cleaning up the mess which would then prolong the nausea and fatigue into Monday most likely, *OR* I stay here to be able to rest tomorrow morning then suck the water up as it's coming IN instead of later when it's a lake, but I'll miss out on everyone's performances (Drum Line, Band, and Guard). *sigh* I can't win. All I can do is wish them luck, hope that all of our hard work is going to pay off, and take care of myself. So...this is dedicated to all of my kids. GOOD LUCK TOMORROW! Mama Stout will be sending good vibes all day long!

You inspire me. In all that you do, in all that you are.
On your good days and your bad, you inspire me.
Go out there tomorrow with your heads held high, your chests puffed out with pride, a swagger to your step, and the knowledge in your hearts that you CAN and WILL succeed.
I love each and every one of you even though we may not cross paths each day.
I keep watch with a careful eye, noting your mood changes and your facial expressions.
I know when you're happy, and when you're mad. I know when you're troubled and when you're sad.
I may not always get the chance to tell you, but you inspire me.
Put your hard work to the test tomorrow and show those other kids out there who's boss.
Don't leave anything but your best out there; you deserve nothing less.
I may not be there in person tomorrow, but I'll be there in spirit and in prayer.
Know that my love hovers above and my support surrounds you with care.

"Mama Stout"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chemo #6 just couldn't be easy could it?

I thought that I was supposed to get a free pass from this kind of stuff. I was hoping to enjoy a relatively mild and uneventful final chemo week but Noooooo....*OH* No....mother nature had a WHOLE 'nother idea for me!

Chemo itself was rather uneventful and quiet, although Tim was wound tighter than a rubber band in anticipation of leaving for Montana. :) We had a lovely nurse by the name of Laura, no worries...we, did get to see Sue, and Mom came with a beautiful gift of a pressed 4 leaf clover pendant necklace. I added it to my stash I wear around my neck. :) After Chemo, Tim and I went to GC
(Hi Dana!) to have a lunch date before taking him to the airport. He was so funny, like a kid in a candy store. I really hope he's having a good time.

We dropped him off and I went home into a wonderful nap. I just hung around the house Friday night, watched a movie, nothing fancy. Saturday was Raytown Marching Festival.
The kids did a fabulous job and even though we don't know our score(s) yet, I'm proud of them regardless. The Festival was called on account of rain/lightning and I started to fade, so Dana took me home. I opted out of the birthday party for the Twins and Addie (I'll get you your presents later!) and snuggled in for a nice relaxing evening. The dogs and I got in bed around 8pm to find "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" on...sweet. I hunkered down, they nudged in and our evening began. Next thing I knew I was waking up to the sounds of thunder and lightning around 11pm. I sat up and thought "That sounds like a pretty wicked storm coming in. Better check the basement." Got up and went downstairs, flipped on the light, opened the door to the laundry room and yup...there it was...water. Damnit. Where's the shop-vac? Oh, that's right, it's still outside in the garage. Do I want to go get it? What's it look like out I walk to the sliding glass door, pull back the drape and switch on the light. "Oh Hell No!" I am *NOT* going out in that! It was crazy looking. Hailing, wind whipping around, rain coming down so fast I couldn't see. I turned around, pondering what to do when *Click!* the lights go out. Oh crap. That's not good. Well...can't do anything else right now, might as well go back to bed. So we went back upstairs and crawled back into bed. All the while the hail was whipping at the windows, the rain beating down on the house, and the wind howling like a train in the distance.

We stayed in bed for about 10minutes before realizing we really needed to be back downstairs. "UP and down Buck and Lilly! Let's go! Let's go!" "Oh this is not good...this is not good...I'm home by myself...I'm home by myself...Oh geez" I step off the last stair into a puddle of water. What the...? "CRACK BOOM!" a huge flash of light followed by a crack of thunder so close I *swear* it was right in front of my face made us all jump back to the furtherst corner of the basement. Wowza...this was intense. We huddled there, my wonderful doggies and I, for about 30minutes or so before it started to settle down a little bit. Once my heart rate came down a few hundred notches I felt we could go upstairs and go back to bed...if that was even possible in my adrenaline infused state. Walking through puddles of water in the pitch dark with thunder and lightning outside is not my idea of fun, but we made it. As we climbed the stairs the aroma of freshly mown grass was *so* strong as we came up the stairs that I was absolutely convinced the silver maple in the front had crashed through the front window and the outside was coming in in an even more violent way.

Thank you baby Jesus it wasn't broken. None of the windows were. They were just plastered in pulverized leaves.

Settling my racing heart, I walked back to the bedroom and collapsed into bed. What was I going to find in the morning?

I woke up Sunday morning about 530 and set about laying every available towel I could find down on the floor to soak up the water. I was still without power.
I crawled back into bed with the dogs and pulled my phone out. Can't call anybody yet, nothing can be done, but it's Thomas's birthday and I don't think I can really leave to go to that. I think I texted my friend Jennifer, but I can't be sure. So I sent an email to my folks and sister/brother in law, and went back to sleep. 8am I woke up to no power, but at least it was light out. I made some coffee (pretty proud of myself on that one), put on some shoes and headed downstairs. The towels were saturated, but they could wait. I wanted to see what had happened overnight.

I opened up the back door and stepped outside. The only thing I could say was "Wow..." I was absolutely stunned. The first thing I noticed were the trees. They were bare...all of them. The next thing I noticed was the big, *BIG* tree behind the shed that had been ripped apart and thrown to the ground. Then I saw the swath of grass where our river runs
through on any heavy was one huge river that most likely culminated in a very large lake banked on either side by dams of hail. Yes that's right...HAIL PEOPLE. When I figured out what those mounds of stuff were I was really shocked. Never seen anything like it. Anyways, after moseying around the back yard (the dogs were in heaven) and taking pictures I went around to the front and was quite sad to see my beautiful potted plants had been pulverized. It shall be an interesting task for me to see if I can bring them back to life. Poor things.

The front of the house looked like someone had vomited camoflague paint or something on it. The roof was covered with shredded leaves, the mulch was gone from the front flower beds, hail covered the front porch, and the side garden was decimated. The hail lovingly busted holes in the window well covers which allowed the process of water seeping into the basement to begin overnight. That's been fun. So I sat on the porch for a minute and talked to a couple of folks that came down the street (back property neighbors), and then set about calling my folks and inlaws. I needed help. I had no idea what to do, or where to begin, but I needed help. Jim and Karen were first on the scene, and Jennifer arrived shortly after with mop, bucket, and free child labor in tow ;) We did what we could, moved stuff around, mopped up water, threw things out on the driveway, sometimes made more of a mess, but did some good work. My folks showed up after Thomas's birthday (sad I couldn't make it) with fans, cleaning supplies, and a "Eh! We've done this numerous times" kind of attitude. Makes me feel better in a way, but it's still overwhelming. We cleaned around for a bit, then I was sent off to take a nap cause we'd reached point where we really couldn't do much more until we had power....of which we had none. I think this was about 15 hours w/out power at this point.

Finally everyone went home and I debated what to do. I felt very strongly that I just needed to stay at home just in case something were to happen. I don't know, it was just a very strong feeling, so I stayed. I also knew that I wasn't going to school in the morning so I had to make those phone calls/emails/texts. I read my book until the light was gone, then used my flashlight for a little while longer. I awoke to Lilly pushing me off the couch at about 10pm so I pushed her off, moved everything around and pulled out the hide-a-bed. Boy I was to the pitch dark upstairs I went to find my Ativan. Oh Ativan...take me away! By the time I got back downstairs, blanket in tow, Buck and Lilly and made their sweet little beds and left me *just* enough space to breathe. We slept very soundly after that. :)

I kept dreaming that KCP&L were driving up and down the street all night and I kept hoping that "Click!" the AC was going to kick back on and I'd have power again. Too bad it was just a dream.

Monday morning I got up at 430 (damn internal alarm clock!) and did a quick sweep of the area. It was muggy, that was for sure, but it was fairly cool. Realizing there wasn't a darn thing I could do, I went back to bed w/the doggies & quickly remembered why I don't like that back and it don't get along very well. Gonna have to go see Dr. Timmer tomorrow, oh yea...

I finally got up around 730, I think, to the REAL sweet sounds of KCP&L trucks rumbling down the street. Mom got there around 9am I think and we started futzing around trying to make a difference in the mess. Karen got there a little while after and started in on the front of the house. She made it look good by the end of the day and she's not done yet! Thanks Karen!

I called KCP&L in an attempt to find out when they thought the power would be back on and was told they were working as fast as they could and that there were some 50 power poles snapped in the storm. Oy. That's gonna take a while to fix. *Sigh* Okay. So, Mom and I threw out a lot of ruined stuff, then I laid down and took a nap.
After lunch we made a concentrated effort to really clean at least the basement up so I could feel as though my world was somewhat back in order. I pulled out the carpet from behind the bar and under the stairs, then went the extra yard and took it off the stairs. That was one of the most disgusting yet gratifying things I've done in a long time. FINALLY at 4pm the power came back on. That made everything instantly better. You never realize how much you are dependent upon it until you don't have it for a couple of days. That sucks.

Anyways, fans have been going, the air has been blowing, and I have finally been sitting for a while. Jim and Karen hauled off the last of the trash (THANK YOU SO MUCH!), Mom checked the fridge for me and swept my whole house while giving me a shoulder to cry on when I got a little overwhelmed (THANK YOU!), and my sisters checked in to see how it was going. I've finally talked to my honey and blogged it out of my system, I think it's time for bed.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's my last Chemo Eve! Where are my shoes?

Actually, the fact that this *is* my last Chemo Eve and thus tomorrow is my last Chemo...that's gift enough. I know I still have a ways to go; that's for sure, but at least this part will be over after tomorrow and finally done by next Friday. I wish I could tell you that I feel a sense of relief but in truth I'm just so wound up from the day and anxious for tomorrow to get here that I don't think "relief" is possible right now.


That's okay. Tomorrow will get here soon enough. I just hope we get Sue. I like Sue.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Oh I can't wait for Friday!

For numerous reasons of course. We don't have a football game so it's nice knowing it can be a regular day and hopefully end with some girl time. Tim finally leaves on his hunting trip and I can't wait for him to go. He needs this, he needs this break from life for a while.

Dear hunting spirits that all reside above, *please* wave your magic wand and let my husband have a wonderfully relaxing, restorative, and successful trip. Let him come back with a smile on his face and peace in his mind and of course with pictures of his elk that he kills. Please oh Please let it be this year! Thank you.

But none so important as this is the last chemo!!! The.Last.Chemo! Did you hear me people? It's finally on the horizon. This journey is (from what I understand) almost halfway over. Only *one* more week of feeling icky and nauseous and like I don't want to eat anything. One more week of crash naps as soon as I get home from school, raw pukey throat, and sandpaper mouth. One more week....*whispers* one.more.

Oh sweet baby Jesus I can't wait! Come on Friday! I'm ready! Let's Go! *Woot!*Woot!*

Sunday, September 12, 2010

I have found ultimate reward

for kicking cancer's a$$. I am in love with this bag...I will own this bag. I don't know when and I don't know how but it will be mine. Oh yes, it will.

Currently I'm feeling:
Kind of like Buck when he's fixated on the "B.A. double L" or a piece of "C.H.E.E.S.E" I am fixated on this bag.
Procrastinating: Starting the cleaning of the house but only for about 30 more minutes.
Reading: Still need a suggestion on a good book to read
Watching: Jurassic Park III
Doing to make me smile: Envisioning owning this bag... *drool*

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Art of Being a Teacher...

everyone should read this...

My friend, Blunt, is an inspiration to me. She inspires me to be a better person, teacher, and friend. I am continually challenging my children at school to be better in all that they do. To realize that there is the speech they use with their friends, and speech they use in the real world. To realize that the way they dress DOES make society look upon them in a certain manner. To realize that being a black male is an incredibly powerful thing and they should use that power for the better. To realize that being a black female is also an incredibly powerful thing and that they should use that power for the better as well; and to realize that I'm just a crazy white lady trying to make a difference in this world.

Take a part in your child's education, your neighbor's child's education, the child in the convenience store that you don't know but who is using such atrocious grammar and is dressed like a thug or common prostitute that you can't help but get involved. For that matter...PARENTS!!! Parents, parents, parents...PLEASE do the education system, the world, yourselves, but most importantly your children a favor and educate your children in how to act appropriately, dress appropriately, speak appropriately, and educate them to realize that although our system is *way* behind the way that they learn right now, instead of fighting the system they can help to change it. Help them realize that reading is not only good for them but can be FUN! READ TO THEM WHEN THEY'RE LITTLE! Don't just plunk them down in front of the TV and stick a video game controller in their hand. That's not doing *anyone* in this world any good. Be present at your child's activities at school. HELP at school. Like Blunt says in her post, teaching is an incredibly exhausting (physically, emotionally, and mentally as well as financially) career and we could use some help. Whether that be financially or by just donating your time; we could use the help. I know I don't have near enough hours in my day to get done everything I need to get done and especially w/this cancer stupidness I could use more help than I ever have in the past. her blog post and help make a change. WE can make a difference but we have to stop fighting with one another over the breakdown in the system and start working together to change it.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Enjoying the fruit of my labors...

Labor Day weekend, and what a glorious one at that. This was the first Labor Day weekend that I was able to *really* enjoy the entire weekend, because I wasn't working, in I don't know how long. I didn't have to tend bar all weekend long (after teaching all week mind you), logging endless miles as I walked from well to fridge, and sink to well. Back bar, Front bar, ninety-one and ninety-two...whew! makes me worn out just remembering it!

I started the weekend off with my first football game at school (2nd overall). It was a beautiful day and turned into a gorgeous night. Aside from a rocky start w/the Drum Line (of which I forgive them, because after all, I wasn't there the week prior so how were they supposed to know what to do? ;) we quickly took the field and performed Pre-Game. Ahhhh, the National Anthem. The school's Color Guard comes strutting across back field, behind the band, (that was a new one; never seen a Color Guard go to the back but it looked quite nice) where they presented the colors. The Drum Major brought the band to attention and raised her arms. I have to be honest and tell you that I instinctively tensed as the approach of the first note raced forward with every swing of the drum major's arms because truth be told we've never been very good at the National Anthem. Don't get me wrong, the kids could play it. I'd heard them a gazillion times in the Band Room rehearsing it and it sounded beautiful. I've even heard it out on the practice field sound really really good; but something *always* happened when it came time to do it in front of the crowd. They froze or got scared and forgot what they were playing or hell maybe they just didn't care, but my point is it wasn't always the best rendition if you know what I'm saying.

Anyways, the drum major was finished with the three prep beats and it was time for the band to enter *oh baby jesus all wrapped up in swaddling clothing PLEASE let this sound good!*...and by goodness it gave me goosebumps. :) It was just about the right blend of all the sections, all the layers of music blended into a great marching band sound. *Sigh* It was gonna be a good night.

I spent the first quarter getting the percussion section settled down, jackets zipped up "For the love of all that's holy! Just zip up your jacket!!", stadium stands settled in, pulses checked, questions answered...whew! I need to sit down! Second quarter found me flitting around through the band, bald as all get out, listening to them play, down in front taking video and pictures, talking to parents and soaking up the gorgeous air.

Finally it was halftime. They got up to get lined up and I watched them all carefully start down the stairs (the logic of putting the drums at the top still escapes me but whatever) "Don't trip! Be careful!"..."Don't squash the clarinets, bass drums! Watch out!!" Fun times. :) The kids marched their halftime show the best they can right now. The sound is different from last year. A little more solid, a little more blended, and a little more balanced. I think I've even gotten the Drum Line to realize and apply the concept of dynamics!! *Gasp!* I know right? I'll give it a second to let *that* one sink in ;)

So the sound is a bit more on the plus side this year...the feet...oy. They're not horrible but there's *definitely* room for improvement. Overall awareness of where one is within the form would be helpful as well. Oh and the girl in the flute section who just walks the entire time and looks like she would rather be anyone else but right there? *Cough* Yeah, you. You know who you are...please, if you're going to pretend could you at least make the effort to get your feet in time? It would make life SO much easier and wouldn't hold the band back. Thanks.

Nothing major to report about the actual weekend. Saturday morning dawned clear and cool. Spent most of the morning lazing around but managed to get the entire house spotlessly clean in under six hours...nice. That was a good day.

Sunday was just as any Sunday should be, but of course throw in the added minor crises and it's truly a Sunday in my world.

Then Monday came...oh glorious Labor Day. That sacred day off from school that I *so* looked forward to every year because it meant a break from BOTH my jobs...but this year I felt slightly guilty; I mean, I'm supposed to *labor* on Labor Day! I'm the one who always stayed home and picked up everyone else's shifts while they went on the canoe trips, the float trips, the road trips, or had a BBQ. Although I *did* have Drum Line rehearsal from 10-12 on Monday, I was able to enjoy a BBQ and some wine Monday afternoon. It was so weird but nice. Oh yes. Very nice.

So for that, stupid cancer, I am thankful. I am thankful that you have forced me to slow down because it has brought me back to the stillness inside. I am thankful that you have tested my sense of self, beauty, and who I am by taking away my hair because it has forced me to look beyond what's on the surface; and I am thankful for the opportunity you have provided me with of looking at my life through a different lens, a different perspective.

Thank you also for allowing me to enjoy the fruit of many years of "labor" and letting me rest on Labor Day :) and with that said, just cause I'm thankful doesn't mean I want you sticking around. Peace.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Housework is just no fun!

"Housework" as read by Carol Channing on the "Free to Be You and Me" album...check it out. Pretty awesome childhood memory.

"You know there are times when we happen to be,
just sitting there quietly watching TV, when the program we're watching will stop for a while, and suddenly someone appears with a smile! and starts to show us just how terribly urgent it is to buy some kind of detergent. Or soap, or cleanser, or cleaner, or powder or paste, or wax of bleach.

Now most of the time it's a lady we see whose doing the housework we see on TV. She's cheerfully scouring a skillet or two, or she's polishing the pots till they gleam like new, or she's scrubbing the tub, or she's mopping the floors, or she's wiping the stains from the walls and the doors or she's washing the windows, the dishes, the clothes or waxing the furniture until it just glows! Or she's cleaning the fridge or the stove or the sink with a lighthearted smile and a friendly wink! ;) And she's doing her best to make us think that *her* soap or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach is the very best soap or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powder or paste or wax or bleach in the

Now, maybe it 'tis and maybe it 'tisn't. And maybe it does what she says it will do! But I'll tell you one thing I know is true. That lady we see when we're watching TV, that lady who *SMILES* as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans. Or whatever she does on our TV screen. That lady is smiling because she's an actress! She's earning money for learning those speeches that mention those wonderful soaps and detergents and cleansers and cleaners and powders and pastes and waxes and bleaches.


The very next time you happen to be just sitting there quietly watching TV, and you see some nice lady that *SMILES* as she scours or scrubs or rubs or washes or wipes or mops or dusts or cleans. Remember! Nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV. Your mommy hates housework, your daddy hates housework, I hate housework too! And when you grow up, so will you! Because even *if* the soap or detergent or cleanser or cleaner or powders or pastes or waxes or bleaches that you use is the very best one...Housework is just no fun!

Children when you have a house of your own make sure when there's housework to do that you don't have to do it alone. Little boys, litte girls, if you become big husbands and wives, and if you want *all* the days of your lives to be sunny as summer weather! Make sure when there's housework to do, that you do it together!"

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

halfway through the week of chemo and school...i'm done...

Made it through Wednesday. Honestly I would have much preferred to have stayed in bed all day but as long as I can move at half speed and still get the job done I'm not gonna take a day cause I might need them later. Playing a short round of fetch w/the dogs, hoping to wear Buck out in record time so I can go take a nap here soon and probably won't move from the chair till it's time for bed. I just hope Tim gets his rear in gear and works through the list of house chores cause I'm tired of looking at the mess. It'd also be nice to not have to cook dinner tonight. *whatever* I'm just grumpy and tired. Peace. Nap time.

Currently I'm feeling:
I'm tired and feeling like a pity party is on the horizon.
Procrastinating: Everything cause I just need to sleep
Reading: Still need a suggestion on a good book to read
Watching: Oprah is on but I'm getting ready to watch the inside of my eyelids
Doing to make me smile: Take a nap