Friday, December 30, 2011

That Blur Was the Holidays

(I'm writing this on a new laptop and the keyboard feels very different in terms of placement--it has an extended keypad--and how much pressure to use when you strike keys. There will be more typos than usual. Just a warning.)

First, a few pictures of our December:

The morning we went to get our tree, we made this gingerbread man. I don't know what we did wrong, but he was seriously dry and required dunking/drowning in hot chocolate to be edible.

Eamonn experiencing some technical difficulties with his snowshoes.

Out on the hunt for the tree. We came across this fallen tree. These are its roots.

We're messing around, taking pictures on my phone and waiting for Eamonn who has used a fallen tree to actually cross water to get to The Perfect Tree that we could see way off yonder. We can see him cutting it down in the distance and now we're waiting for him to come back and ford the stream again, this time with our tree.

Eamonn trying to get back across the water WITH the tree. He made it! There was a bit of excitement when his foot went through the ice at one point, but he didn't need 10 toes anyway. Most people can get by without a few, right?

Snowshoeing back to the car. I wonder if snowshoeing is actually a word?

Enjoying hot chocolate and stale gingerbread after the tree hunt

Cookies for Santa

The holidays are nearly over. Is this what happens? Life just speeds up to a pace where I can no longer keep track of time? Truly, I thought I'd blogged last week so I was a little shocked when I came over here and saw Dec. 13. Heck, the kids weren't even out of school yet at that point and now they go back next week!

The holidays were busy and fun, for the most part. The fun parts were baking cookies with the boys and then my mom and Tara once they got here; watching lots of Christmas movies; listening to Christmas music until I drove everyone crazy; seeing the lights and decorations around town; taking a day before the boys were out of school to wrap everything (although our printer died and that didn't go exactly as planned); dealing with the post office--oh wait, that's goes on the UnFun List.

The UnFun was definitely dealing with our post office. Those of you on Facebook know of my loathing for our post office. And really, many people have the same issue, but I feel like it's magnified here because we don't have any home mail delivery at all. And even if you order something and the vendor says it's coming UPS or FedEx, it may STILL end up held hostage at the post office. But I'll stop talking about that because it puts me in a very UnHoliday mood.

The end.

Other unfun stuff--I weighed myself this morning. EEEEEEEEEK! Were you aware that if you don't exercise and eat too many Christmas cookies it's bad news? I was lying in bed this morning playing a little game of "How Bad Do I Think It Will Really Be?" I hadn't weighed myself in weeks. I was in denial. So I made up a number in my head. I shot high because I figured if it was lower, I'd be so happy.

It wasn't.


I'm trying to keep it in perspective. I'm where I was when I finished the weight loss challenge last spring, which is 10 pounds below where I was at this time last year. But still, I had lost more and have jumped up from that. Sigh. It was all in the name of Christmas cookies. Very delicious, yummy Christmas cookies.

I'll be chronicling my attempts to get back in gear on my other blog and also doing a challenge over there, I think starting in two weeks or so if anyone is interested.

So now we're in that post Christmas phase. Some presents have been put away, some are still on the floor. It's a bit here, there and everywhere. I'm trying to decide how motivated I am to take the decorations down this weekend. I usually like to bask in their glow for a bit longer and then take them down a week after New Year's so I'm good and sick of them and not sad to see them go.

Really, what needs to go at this point is the Christmas cookies. I'm going to see if I can go a whole day without eating any.

It's 9:52am. I'll let you know how it goes.

But at this point, as much as I hate to admit it, it's probably time for the boys to go back to school. The squabbling, which probably really isn't that bad, is bugging me. While the weather is lovely and they could get outside to play (if we drag them kicking and screaming), we don't have enough snow to sled or to make the skiing enjoyable. The town's outdoor rink probably suffered mightily in the warm sun yesterday. This happened last year--no snow--and it was such a bummer. We had about 4 inches of snow a few days before Christmas, so that was nice, but nothing else and nothing on the horizon.

So it's probably best for all concerned that school resume. You know, so we don't kill each other. That would be a terrible way to end the holidays, now wouldn't it?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy News!

Just got a call from the surgeon. My pathology report was all clear!

Thanks, everyone, for your kind words and support!

Now it's back to business as usual!

Monday, December 12, 2011


All fall I've not felt the love for blogging. It's not that I don't love all of you--I do, I really, really do--I just feel boring lately.

It's a drag.

I'll tell you what else is a drag, having a 3 inch chunk of skin taken out of your upper right arm along with four lymph nodes.

Just for the record, I'm not a good patient. I'm feeling sorry for myself. But the surgery is over and I'm glad and I fully anticipate that the little melanoma that started all of this drama in October will not have spread.

Let me back up just a tad because the last you knew of the melanoma, I was having it removed on Nov. 8 in the dermatologist's office. Except that when I got to the dermatologist's office, she was not in agreement with my family doctor that we should just do a basic excision on my arm and call it good.

This set off a month-long saga of trying to decide what to do next. The cast of characters included my family doctor, two dermatologists, an oncologist, two surgeons, and a melanoma expert at the University of Colorado. Yes, I know. How many more people can I get involved with over a melanoma the size of the tip of a pen? Leave it to me.

To be fair, my lovely little melanoma had some unusual characteristics (OF COURSE IT DID!!!) that made it a bordeline case, and that's what was causing all of the debate. The excision was a sure thing--a bigger patch of skin had to come off. The part up for debate: to do a sentinel lymph node biopsy or not?

The docs were split on their decision.

In the end, after much deliberation and hand wringing--because I am at my very core, a wimp--I went with the excision with a bonus of sentinel lymph node biopsy. And that means that they injected me with radioactive dye to find the lymph node(s) nearest the melanoma site and they removed those for biopsy. I should have the results this week and of course, I will let you know.

But, as always, I've learned a few things along the way and I will freely impart my knowledge upon you.

1. Don't be a dumbass (like me). Got a mole or any suspicious mark? Get thee to the doctor.
2. Get a second opinion. Getting second opinions gives me angst. It's like saying to your doctor, "Thanks, but I don't really believe you so I'm going to talk to someone else who I will believe." But you need to do what's right for you.
3. Be your own best advocate. Again, this can be hard. It was actually easier to do when it was Finn. It felt less awkward to say, "I'm behaving in this manner to protect my child" versus "I'm just being an ass today."
4. Be careful what you read. This one is almost impossible to follow. I stressed myself out pretty badly reading about survival statistics for my type of melanoma, which quite frankly, were exactly the same as Finn's for his leukemia. But as Eamonn always reminds me, someone makes up that survival statistics--let's proceed as if it's us. Done.
5. Take care of yourself. That pretty much wraps up the first four items into one nutshell. I waited too long. I procrastinated. I forgot. I didn't pay enough attention. And all of those things were very close to combining to become a very bad thing. Don't do that.

So my surgery was last Friday. I didn't think I was overly nervous, but I didn't sleep at all well from the moment I decided to have the surgery until the day of. I concocted all sorts of scenarios that mostly involved me never waking up from anesthesia versus dying of cancer. I wasn't quaking in fear, just pondering going under and never coming back to the point that I filled Eamonn in on where all of the Christmas presents were hidden in case he had to do Christmas without me. But here I am. I guess I need to wrap everything now.

Versed is a weird, weird drug. It's what they used to give Finn when he had his spinal taps. When I've had Versed before (sinus surgery and another minor surgery), I've remembered things--it just made me really relaxed, but I was still aware of saying goodbye to Eamonn, being wheeled away, to them talking to me in the OR, etc. This time it was completely different. I remember kissing Eamonn and then I was waking up in recovery. No recollection of them wheeling me away, going to the OR or ANYTHING. And that is disturbing on many levels because Eamonn said I was talking. To who? About what? It's such a curious thing.

We got home Friday evening about 7:45pm and I went straight to bed. On Saturday we went to Declan's hockey game. However, earlier today I realized what a post-anesthesia fog I'd been in because I thought I'd gone to two hockey games that day. I even asked my friend if I made sense at the rink because I truly don't remember most of the game or that day. I do remember the surgeon calling to see how I was. He asked if I had any numbness. I said no. He said that was good because that meant he hadn't damaged any nerves. Um, yeah, I think that's good, too.

By Sunday, the pain meds and the knockout drugs were truly wearing off and I was uncomfortable. But each day is better. I hate not being able to work out, especially during Christmas cookie eating season, but this too shall pass.

I should probably stop eating guacamole for dinner though or else I'll have to put "Lose 20 pounds" back on my New Year's Resolution list and that will make me very unhappy.