Stepping It Up

ImageThis week’s activities have just ratcheted up a notch.  I got a call today from the orthopedic surgeon’s office.  They can fit Samantha in for surgery on Friday.  (https://embracingtherollercoaster.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/5-random-things for a reminder of the gory details!)  Samantha wants to have this surgery, and she has been anxious to get it done before she leaves for school.  We had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen.  

Actually, I think the timing is good.  She will be in a bulky cast for about 10 days and then a standard cast for a month.  Not sure when she will be able to come home to get it removed, but we will figure it out.  I am very thankful that she won’t have to wait until Christmas.  

Dave goes in for his SirSpheres treatment Thursday morning.  Should be interesting at our house for a few days while Dave and Sam recover.  If you don’t hear from me you’ll know why!  : )

xoxo

Robyn

Friends

Image

I got a package in the mail today from my friend, Lori.  She read my blog post “Have You?” and decided that she could take something off my list for me.  So, this caring, generous soul took time out of her hectic life (can you say 3 kids – 2 are twins!) and found some products that might help Dave feel better during his Y90 treatment and new chemo.  I have been blessed with Lori’s kindnesses before and am in awe of her.

On Monday, I spent a lovely couple of hours noshing on yummy chicken schwarma and falafel and catching up with my friend, Raba.  We had so much to talk about and shared and laughed and had the best time.  It was exactly what I needed.

Around 1:00 Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from my friend Heather’s husband wondering if she was with me.  We met at 10:30 for coffee so I think he was surprised that we were still together.  Michele and Heather and our Tuesday morning coffee dates have kept me sane this year.  We have gotten each other through the trauma of college applications and acceptances and soon the girls’ departures.  They have listened to me ramble on and on about a variety of topics and always bolster my spirits and remind me that I am not crazy when sometimes I think I might be.

Then there is my friend, Alex.  Alex and I have talked each other off of the ledge many times during our decades of friendship.  She is so good at problem solving, puts things into perspective, gives me her honest opinion, and she’s funny as hell.  What more could you need in a friend?

I should also mention the amazing women who I get to sit by the pool with each summer during swim season.  They are thoughtful, knowledgeable women who are willing to share their experiences and ideas.  I look forward to swim season because I know I will learn so much.  On Wednesday morning, they gave me TONS of ideas about what Samantha should take to school with her.  I love having this group in my friend village.

These are just the friends that touched my life in the last couple of days.  (You might be thinking “Robyn sure has a lot of time to sit around and gab with friends”.  This week I definitely made it a priority!)  I have this amazing community of women that I have known since childhood, high school, college, Gymboree, teaching, met through my kids, met through other friends, met through Dave.  Some I see or keep in touch with more regularly than others.  But no matter how often I see them or talk to them, I am so grateful to have them in my life.  I know that at any moment I can call out and they will be there.  Probably with coffee. and cookies.

xoxo

Robyn

Image

Have You?

Have you researched drugs and treatment options (even the holistic remedies that western medicine scoffs at) and presented them to the doctor?

Have you driven to apothecaries and natural food stores searching for something, anything that might help with nausea or fatigue and isn’t another chemical solution?

Have you walked someone through treatment?  From the severe anxiety beforehand to the side effects afterwards?

Have you provided for their every need whether it is unmentionable items at the drug store you never thought you would be buying or running out late at night for ginger ale to soothe the stomach?

Have you been the shoulder to cry on or had to bear the brunt of their rage and frustration because it’s easier to take it out on a person than on the cancer?

Have you sat for hours in the hospital waiting room worried as every second ticks by that something has gone wrong?

Have you held your child as they cry out of worry for their dad?

Have you pried the tough questions out of your child because they are afraid of the answers?

Have you “held the fort down” because that’s what you do when your spouse is sick?

Have you swallowed your feelings and emotions to protect yourself and your partner?

Have you cried and vented with a friend all of those things that you are afraid to say out loud for fear of them coming true?

Have you done things that are terrifying because they need to be done when you would rather run and bury your head in the sand?

Have you had the tough conversations like “Hey, instead of having a beer together let’s do something else.  I want your liver to be as healthy as possible!”?

Have you talked about death and funerals and odds?

If you have, then you can judge me or claim to understand.  If you haven’t, then you are so very lucky indeed.

xoxo

Robyn

5 Things From This Week

1. The weather has been (to quote a friend) “hellfire hot”!

2. The IM swim meet was roughly five hours long Wednesday night in said heat.  Both Parker and Grant swam slower than their best, but who cares.  I just wanted to get back into some AC!

3. Dave’s procedure went as well as it possibly could have on Tuesday.  Mapping was successful, and they can indeed attack both sides of the liver at once on August 1st.  He will experience “flu like” symptoms for a few weeks but much better than having to go through it twice. 

4.  I’ve been enjoying spending as much time as possible with my oldest child.  Yesterday we bobbed around in the pool for a few hours chatting about random topics.  She said she isn’t ready to leave for school in a month.  I wanted to say I wasn’t ready for her to go either, but instead told her that in a month she might be.  I’m glad that she has wanted to hang out with her dear old mom this summer.  (At least during daylight hours, evenings she is off with friends!)

5.  Here is the layout of her dorm suite.  Not bad at all.  MUCH nicer than my accommodations freshman year!

Image

xoxo

Robyn

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Image

I have been thinking a lot about transitions lately.  We spent the weekend with some friends and their lovely toddler daughter.  Watching her lovingly tuck monkey in for a nap and listening to her chatter naturally made me reflect on how quickly my children have grown up and the many stages they have gone through to get where we are today.  Bright and early Saturday morning the kids had a swim meet, and they lost to a team that they typically beat.  That team is faster and stronger than in years past.  I talked to several parents about the cycles the swim teams seem to go through.  

The most profound transition is happening right now with Samantha.  She is straddling the line between adult and kid.  Too young to have a drink with the adults (at least for this mama!) during our family vacation and yet feeling too old to play with her siblings and cousins.  Not still in high school and yet not quite in college yet either.  She is an eighteen year old with the weight of the world on her shoulders.  As I mentioned previously, she has to have surgery on her wrist.  She is in chronic pain and worries whenever she bumps it or tweaks it in some way that she is causing further damage.  She cried when they said surgery would likely be in December because she is frustrated at not being able to do the things she would like.  At the lake, she wasn’t able to participate in the water sports, and since it was so rainy, she didn’t even go on the boat to tan since the sun was largely absent.  She is excited about heading off to college and yet also nervous about making friends and being successful.  And then of course she worries about her dad.  He is her hero and inspiration.  We talk about the phases of Dave’s treatments, and she has the same concerns and questions we all do.  Questions to which we don’t have any answers.  I couldn’t be more proud of the way she has handled all of these challenges.  She is working, spending tons of time with friends, hanging out with her siblings, and helping out around the house.  Her maturity, grace and generosity outshine most people I know.  My eyes will be brimming over with tears and my heart expanding with pride when we drop her off at CNU in just over four weeks.  It will be a long drive home into our new normal.

xoxo

Robyn

5 Random Things

images1. I have rediscovered Netflix and movies in general….

The Campaign = hilarious and inappropriate

Bridesmaids = see The Campaign

TED = dear God.

13 Going on 30 = could watch this movie over and over again

Playing for Keeps = snoresville even with Gerard Butler

Monsters U = very cute but you can’t beat the original

2. My friend, Wendy, has a german exchange student staying with her family.  She thought it would be nice if Sam would invite him to hang out with her and her friends.  I had to coerce Sam into inviting him to a movie.  She is SO glad she did.

3. I had the CRAZIEST dream the other night.  It involved a bomb going off, staying with some stranger who was uber prepared for the event, many door locks, and lots of running.  Think my subconscious is trying to tell me something?

4. We got a new pet.  Sadly, Dave’s bearded dragon met an untimely demise when the AC in his office went out over the weekend.  The 100 degree temperature in his office paired with the heating lamps did in the poor little fellow.  So, now we have another leopard gecko named Oscar.  (Together our leos are George and Oscar Bluth for any Arrested Development fans.)

5. I took Sam to the orthopedist today.  She definitely needs surgery.  It involves cutting a chunk of bone out of her right ulna, putting a plate in and letting it all heal.  It seems unlikely that she will be able to get it done before school starts, but they are really trying to get her in.  August 5th is a slim possibility so any prayers, good vibes or whatever you do are appreciated!!  Otherwise, it is probably going to be over the Christmas break and hopefully the cortisone shot she got today will tide her over.

xoxo

Robyn

A Lot Can Happen in a Year

One_year_anniversaryI launched this blog about a year ago hoping to share our news in an efficient and hopefully interesting way.  Last July = 15 blogs posts.  This July = 1.  Life has been a little busy lately.

Samantha and I survived “Setting Sail” at CNU.  The parents learned a ton, mingled and sought out glimpses of their children.  The kids socialized, played games, ate in the dining halls and slept in the dorms.  Samantha stayed on three more days for summer leadership.  Surprisingly, she texted me daily and even called a few times.  It was definitely a period of adjustment as she looked for kindred spirits and joined in “bonding activities” that weren’t necessarily her cup of tea.  Luckily I was armed with all the right phrases to encourage and support her, and by the end of the week, she was very tired but happy to have found the right school and made new friends.  I think August will be a much easier transition for HER.  (I’ll be crying like a baby……)

Dave is scheduled to have his “mapping” procedure done next Tuesday, July 16th.  Assuming that all goes as planned his first dose of SirSpheres will be August 1st.  We had hoped he could do both sides of the liver at once and take advantage of the summer lull to recover.  Unfortunately the interventional radiologist says this isn’t a good option for Dave which is a change-up from when we met with him a few weeks ago.  So the second procedure is currently scheduled for August 27th, but we are trying to get it changed to a week earlier if possible.  Dave has travel plans over the Labor Day weekend and the school year is just starting to get going at that time.  That timing would be tough since Dave can expect “5-7 days of flu-like symptoms”.

We got a sad email today.  One of the people we attended the retreat (https://embracingtherollercoaster.wordpress.com/category/couples-retreat) with last October passed away yesterday.  J was the only female patient and had been struggling with poor scans and treatments that weren’t working.  She leaves behind a kind, loving husband and a smart, energetic preteen daughter.  My heart is feeling very heavy.

We are back in the swing of things here at home.   Lots of swimming, guests coming into town, lunch/dinner dates, oboe lessons, tennis camps.  And a consult with an orthopedic surgeon.  Did I mention that Sam has been told she needs surgery?  This upcoming year is shaping up to be a busy one too.  Stay tuned.

xoxo

Robyn