Sunday, September 30, 2007


Sometimes I wonder why God gave me 3 sons. I always imagined that I would have at least one daughter, who would grow up to do "girl stuff" with me. We would shop, get pedicures, bake brownies.....Instead, I am the mom of 3 boys. They are ALL boy, if you know what I mean. They are dirty and sweaty and love bugs and lizards. I have managed to persuade them that Target is "cool," but that's about as far as I get.

Anyway, yesterday I went to Target with Goliath and Little Middle in tow. They were delightful, so I offered an impulse-buy treat. Want to know what they picked? They each came home with a box of Bertie Bott's Beans. That is, Harry Potter jellybeans. They have a few regular flavors (blueberry, tutti-frutti, cherry), but most of the box is an assortment of grossness (is that a word?) that my boys found hilarious. It includes earwax, soap, earthworm, vomit, booger, black pepper, dirt, grass, pickle, rotten egg, sardine, and sausage. After the kids went to bed, Hubby and I were looking at the beans. I dared him to try one, and he promised to do it if I would, too. I am embarrassed to confess, but I ate a booger-flavored jellybean. Ya'll, it absolutely tasted like what I imagine a booger might taste like. It was so disgusting. Hubs had a sausage-flavor bean, which he promptly spit into the trash.

I tell you all THAT to be able to proudly say THIS: I encouraged a wary Goliath to try a vomit jellybean by telling him about my experience, i.e. I did it and I survived. "Wow, Mom!" he said. "You really ate that? You're just as cool as Target!"

Friday, September 28, 2007

Still Sick

And on and on it goes....
We are still sick. In 7 days, we made 4 visits to the pediatrician, sometimes doubling up on kids, and spent a small fortune at the pharmacy. Today, when all 3 kids should be in school and I should be enjoying the quiet, I still have Baby at home. He is suffering from croup and pink eye--both highly contagious. When I'm not holding him or watching Baby Einstein with him, I am sitting on him, hoping he will be still enough to get at least one drop in his eye OR we are reading Brown Bear, Brown Bear on the floor of a steamy bathroom, OR I am frantically gathering up everything he has touched so it can be laundered and/or disinfected.
Luckily, he is in a pretty good mood so we could make a Target run this morning. That always makes ME feel better.......

Monday, September 24, 2007

When It Rains, Water Leaks....

We have a water problem. Actually, we have several water problems. As if we didn't have enough to worry about.......
A few days ago, Hubby asked if I had noticed the water on the floor in the laundry room. Of course I had, but I assumed that someone spilled something and "forgot" to clean it up. He pointed out that the water was around the doorway in the garage as well (our laundry room is opens into the garage) and suggested we should call the landlord. Good call. The hot water heater is leaking and must be replaced. Until we could get the plumber out, we rigged up a very fancy means of catching the water:

Here it is up close. Yes, that is a piece of a toy train track. I KNEW those would come in handy some day!

The new water heater is in a box (which promises to be a fun tunnel for the boys later on), waiting to be installed.

We also have leaky faucets in our master bathroom--in both sinks AND in the shower. All of those must be torn out and replaced, leaving us displaced and sharing a bathroom with the kids for a few days. Sigh.

Finally, the water main in our front yard is leaking. There is a pool of water in one spot in our yard, leaving a muddy mess.

The mess will get worse before it gets better, as the solution is to dig a trench across the front yard in order to reach the underground pipes and replace them. Of course, the boys think this will be GREAT fun! :)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Worst-Case Scenario

Q: What is worse than a mommy who is recovering from surgery?

A: 3 brothers who have a stomach virus, bronchitis, and an ear infection, respectively.

Q: What is worse than 3 sick brothers?

A: A pediatrician who prescribes for a 3-year-old a steroid which "may possibly make him hyper."

That pediatrician is probably lounging in her quiet house this evening, laughing to herself every time she thinks about me.

Monday, September 17, 2007


"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us--whatever we ask--we know that we have what we asked of Him." 1 John 5:14-15
God has heard us and answered our prayer. I saw my oncologist today and was declared to be CANCER FREE!!! During Surgery 2 (2 1/2 weeks ago), the only cancer to be found was in the remaining ovary, which was removed as part of the hysterectomy. There were no cancer cells in any of my lymph nodes or on any other organs. No further treatment is necessary: no chemotherapy, no radiation. Dr. M only requires an exam in November, and scans every 6 months after that. He advised me to walk out of his office and walk back into my life, and to tell my children that their mom will live to be an old lady.
There is much celebrating going on in our four walls today. Make no mistake--cancer will always be part of my life. But today I was transformed from cancer patient to cancer survivor. My mom and I were talking on the way to DSW Shoes this afternoon (doesn't every survivor need a great pair of shoes?), and here's what we agree on: Even if the results were different...if I had gone in this morning and learned my body was ravaged by deadly cancer cells and there were only months left to live on this earth...God would still be God. He would still be good, still be loving, still be merciful. He would still be in control of my life; He would still sit on His throne.
I have seen the power of God today, and I will never be the same.
"Shout with joy to God, all the earth! Sing the glory of His name, make His praise glorious! Say to God, "How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power!"...Come and see what God has done!" Psalm 66:1-5

Friday, September 14, 2007

It Takes a Village

It is quiet this morning. Hubby is at work, and all 3 boys are at school.
My sweet friend Wendy, who is SO cute and a crafty type, created a book of "Comfort Scriptures" for me. Every page is a different scrapbook-page background and a scripture that gives God's promise to those who are sick, weak, weary, and troubled. So many verses seemed to jump out at me, but here's one that was particularly special (obvious adjustments mine):
"Because Allyson loves me," says the Lord, "I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name. She will call upon Me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her." Psalm 91:14-15
I claim this verse not just in relation to my illness, but for my day-to-day life. Here's how the week has gone, and how the Father kept His promise: Mom went home and Hubs went back to work. Still unable to do virtually anything, and still in pain, I definitely needed rescuing! So I started making phone calls. The end result? A beautiful orchestration of different people meeting very real needs. God sent Hope, Jennifer, and Bethany to cook for us. He gave us Kelly, who has provided Goliath his own personal school bus (complete with a juice box each afternoon) and a new friend in her sweet little girl. He nudged Theresa, Heather, Cassie, and John in our direction to help with endless hours of childcare so that Mommy can rest. He opened the hearts of my fellow teachers/friends, who gifted us a clean house! There are so many more who continue to call or come by just to check on us, or make grocery runs for the milk we're always out of, or show special affection to our boys, or minister to us in a million other ways. There is no way I can feel anything less than loved and honored!
Now...a special shout out to our friends in the Houston area. Many of you we don't even know, but we are well-acquainted with the gifts of grace and love that you've given to us. The tangible ways you love us turn up in our mailbox almost every day--cards, small gifts, flowers, notes of encouragement. The things we don't see--when you are loving on our family there, or when you are on your knees praying for us--matter even more. Thank you.
It has been 2 weeks since Surgery 2, and we are still waiting on pathology reports to confirm or refute what Dr. M did not find. I will see him for follow-up on Monday. Please pray that he has those reports in hand when we walk in. It feels like my whole life is in a holding pattern while we wait.
May your weekend be blessed with beautiful weather and time well spent with loved ones. My boys are goin' fishing!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Staples, Blood Clots, and an Office Visit

Well, I've put off blogging as long as I can. After yesterday, I feel like I have something to write about beside pain meds and restless nights.
Yesterday, I had an appointment in the oncologist's office to have the staples removed from my incision. My mom and I dropped off the 2 younger boys at their first day of preschool (another post for another time) and headed into Dallas. The office is just behind the hospital where I had surgery, so we knew where we were going and were blessed with good traffic, and arrived 20 minutes early. We ended up waiting over an hour. Don't you HATE that?!? Apparently, the staple-removal case before me was rendered immobile after surgery and getting her set up took quite a while. Unfortunately, all that waiting gave me plenty of time to watch the people coming into the office. Now, obviously--it you're there at all, you're in a bad place. Duh. But the women I saw...well, here's a sample conversation that I overheard:
Lady 1 (already waiting but spotting a friend): Mary Alice, how ARE you?!?!?
Lady 2 (just arrived and signing in): Well, Wanda, I'll tell you. I'm not that great today. I don't have any PLATELETS.
Lady 1: What?!? What happened?
Lady 2: I've switched chemo meds again. And the new drug has messed up my blood, and I've had to have 3 units of blood. Each unit takes 2 hours to give, plus another hour-and-a-half between units for testing and typing. I'm in here today for more testing and I'm so worried that I'll have to go back to the hospital.
Lady 1: Tsk, tsk. What happened with the D-drug?
Lady 2: Oh, the D-drug was just terrible. I couldn't get out of bed for days. I had no energy. I just couldn't do ANYTHING.
Lady 1: You know he (the doctor) isn't here today.
Lady 2: Yes, I know he's still on vacation. I heard he's having a fabulous time. I'll tell you, after each blood unit, I would stop by Krispy Kreme on the way home. I would buy a dozen donuts and eat every single one!
Lady 1: ha ha ha
Lady 2: Harold would say, "Honey, are you hungry?" And I would tell him, "No, not really." Then we would drive through Krispy Kreme anyway. They were delicious.
Both ladies laugh like this is the funniest thing they have ever heard. I'm certain that they are both wearing wigs. I am depressed.
When the sad surgery case finally was done, it was my turn. I don't mind saying that I was pretty worked up about having staples removed. The doctor had told me in the hospital that it wouldn't hurt a bit, but I was not buying it. While the nurse was prepping to take the staples out, my mom mentioned to her that I had been experiencing leg pain. Well. That one sentence threw the entire office into a tizzy. Marilyn and Vicki and Jerri Ann went nuts. Other assorted nurses and assistants were rushing in and out of the room, looking worried. One of them pushed on my feet. "Does this hurt? Does this hurt? Does this hurt?" I wanted to punch her in the nose. Someone finally explained that they were concerned about blood clots, a common and serious occurrence after surgery. They paged the doctor, who ordered a doppler scan for my legs that had to be done TODAY. Nobody cared that I had 3 children who needed to be picked up from school in a timely fashion. They removed the staples and sent us on our merry way back to the hospital.
I had to be re-admitted to the hospital as an outpatient case. When the clerk asked if I had been to Medical City before, I almost laughed. Been here? I just left here! This whole time, Mom was making frantic phone calls to Hubby to try to make a plan for retrieving the children. There was more paperwork, and we were sent upstairs.
No waiting. I couldn't believe it. It is so irritating to me that the medical community seems to have no real sense of timeliness! But that precious sono tech let us right in, and we were done in less than 30 minutes. The rules are that a physician has to review each scan and sign off on it before the patient is allowed to leave. I think the tech felt sorry for me, because she said, "I'm no rookie, and I can't see anything here to worry about. Ya'll go ahead and go, and if I'm wrong, we'll call you." Hubs had to get the little boys from preschool, but Mom and I made it to the elementary school to get Goliath, with a few moments to spare for Chipotle chips and guac in the car. Still no explanation on the leg pain, though.
Oh--in the middle of the frantic office visit, I did ask about the pathology reports. No sign of them yet, so we are resigned to more waiting.
I'm good at some things--like making up preschool songs, baking goodies, and loving my family. But I stink at being a cancer patient. All this laying around and not doing anything useful is really getting under my skin. I do realize how important resting is, and I'm doing my best...really. I miss my life, and if you're in my life, I miss you.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Just a quick update...
I am home. The doctor released me this morning, and I spent most of the day resting in my own bed while my mom and my brother took the boys to the zoo. When they got home, they seemed just as glad to see me as I was to see them.
I am in "recovery mode" now. I am tired, physically and emotionally. I am glad to be back where I belong, where the healing process will be somewhat easier. Thank you again for your prayers--they matter. I will update more in the next few days....