Before the State of the Union, one of the local news programs showed a montage of photos illustrating how much Obama has aged during his presidency. My reaction was “yep, that job would do it to you” and “he still looks good”. It got me thinking about aging ,and I quietly congratulated myself for holding up reasonably well during the last few years.
Then yesterday I noticed this in the rearview mirror.
Are you seeing those cavernous crevices in my forehead?! And around the eyes. And….
Definitely caused by doing this.
I make this face when I am thinking hard or when I am confused or concerned about something. In other words, I make this face A LOT. Sam is coming off of a pretty rough string of stressful events. A few of them I mentioned previously. Her week was capped off when someone hit her parked car and then drove off. Luckily some students witnessed the accident and called campus police who handled things beautifully – from guiding Sam through the accident report to locating the other car and its owner. As Sam has been dealing with things, I have been doing my parenting from afar. Making her laugh when she is feeling down. Boosting her up when she is feeling stressed. Giving her the tools she needs to deal with the insurance company and collision shop. And being the person she gets frustrated with because the situation is so exasperating. Wrinkle, wrinkle, wrinkle, crease, crease, crease.
Tomorrow Dave heads back up to Hopkins for his next infusion of Irinotecan. He did really well this week overall with fatigue and some nausea being his biggest obstacles. He was even able to go into work a few days and catch up a bit which I know he was very happy about. If history repeats, the next two weeks are likely to be more challenging with lots of resting and staying home.
In the meantime, I am off to look for some sort of anti aging serum. Or maybe a headband. A tight one.
Those of you who know Grant know that he is an amazing kid. He is so smart and has a wicked sense of humor. I am often blown away by his play on words or his thought processes. However, this same quick tongue can also get him into trouble. I am constantly telling him to “know your audience!”
Grant hasn’t shown much outward stress to Dave’s illness. When Dave first sat him down and explained to him that he had cancer, that he would be having surgeries and chemo but that everything would be alright, Grant accepted it wholeheartedly. In fact, he was so relaxed about the situation last year that he even took a little bit of advantage.
Dave’s liver surgery was in December, and I spent most of my time at the hospital. The kids were left to themselves at different points, but they were all old enough to handle it and look out for each other. One night I came home and watched Grant playing a video game. I laughed and commented about one of the odd “lego headed” characters. The next night, I came home and noticed the video game box. It looked a lot like a game that I had bought for Grant and put away for Christmas. Confused, I asked him why he asked for a game that he already had. Well, long story short, he had helped himself to his Christmas present early and planned to just put it back before I noticed!
He’s too smart for his own good, but he has a mom who is pretty with it too. This year I have a new hiding spot for gifts.
We drive separately since Dave has to go to work afterwards. (why is it always so hard to find parking in this garage?) He heads to the lab for blood work, and I make myself comfortable in the waiting room. (hmm…Life With Cancer pamphlet….could be interesting. FINAL CHECK LIST. eessh. i definitely don’t need to read that.) Dave gets called back – weight check, blood pressure check (that was quick. did she really take it?), pulse, temperature, standard list of questions about appetite and symptoms. (click, click, click on the computer. she isn’t even looking at us. has to get through her checklist of things to do. SO routine for her.) We wait. I remind myself to breathe while at the same time ignoring subtle stress-induced digs from Dave.
Dr. S comes in. He is a whirlwind of energy. He is noticeably surprised to see me and comments that I usually am “only here for the big appointments”. (so want to defend myself. dave doesn’t want me to come to all of his appointments. i have to work. do other spouses come to every appointment? am i not keeping up? do you know how supportive i am?!) Dr. S tells Dave that his blood work looks good. His numbers are good. CEA is 3.4. Dr. S pokes and prods a bit and asks about side effects. Dave tells him his concerns about “chemo brain”. That he is getting increasingly forgetful and aggressive. Conversation moves on to discussion about what we are going to do after the 12th cycle of this chemo. After some questioning, Dr. S tells us Dave can choose to take a break altogether (alarm bells. this is a terrible idea.) or he can do a lesser chemo but we will talk about it after the next scan. Dave reminds Dr. S that he is going to be out of the office after the next scan. Chit chat about where he is going to be. I ask a few questions about going off the trial if Dave takes a break. Dr. S mentions that we don’t have to decide today. I ask about taking a break from chemo, and Dr. S says that obviously we know Dave’s tumor is aggressive but that it is up to him if he feels he needs the mental and physical break. (no, no, no, no, no. easy for me to say.) Then it is handshakes all around, a few jokes about the kids, and we are out the door. As I am driving to meet some friends for lunch, I wonder what we really learned today.
Things that I am thankful for this week:
Gross flavored jelly beans from a friend who has been there and gets me.
Hearts of palm and purple peppers in my salad Wednesday night.
A daughter who is going to interview at CNU tomorrow – her first choice school
Funny Quotes from the week:
Samantha was giving me a little attitude about something, and Parker witnessed the exchange. When Sam left the room, I asked Parker if she was going to talk to me that way when she is 17. She said, “I don’t want to but sometimes instinct just takes over.”
Grant upon returning from the Homecoming Dance informed us that his “hips hurt from all the thrusting from dancing.” We are just glad he didn’t get kicked out of the dance.
Things I am thankful for always:
My amazing family
Laughing with friends old and new
A job I love with the added bonus of having Tuesdays and Fridays off