Thursday, June 30, 2011

Six Months!

I checked into Cancer-World this week.

I hate checking in there! Even though I appear healthy and feel healthy, you just never know what is going on inside the body. There is so much stress about checking in. First of all, you are scared witless that something might me found. Then there is the stress of do all of your test one day and wait for several days to find out the results.

Monday morning, The Boy went with me to the hospital for my testing. I had to take three test; Lab work on 2 different CAT scans. The Lab work went smoothly, but three viles full of blood is  a lot!  I hate the paperwork. I use to be able to say NO to all the history questions. Besides weighing too much, I have always been healthy. Not any longer...Now I have to say YES.

My first shock of the morning was when we hit the radiology department and they brought me out TWO glasses of liquid to drink. I am not sure what type of contrast they mixed with a very diluted fruit punch mix but I had to gulp down about 30 ounces of weak fruit punch liquid.

That is all in addition to the water I drank that morning. As I have expressed here several times, I have very bad veins. Getting an IV in, is not fun for me or the nursing staff. Miss Medical Student gave me great tips for for things that will help me and I followed all of them. I had drank a good 32 ounces of water before I even got to the appointment!

I actually suffered through two attempts to find a vein. To her credit, she did find a vein the first time, but the valves would not open to let her in.

It took two days for the bruising to show up.

Anyway, I met with the doctor today and he informs me that all of my blood levels are good.  So are my scans. There was no evidence of the tumor in my original site or anywhere else in my neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvic area.

Another green light. Next check-up September.

Our Unlucky Break!

 Our summer sports live came crashing to a halt last night. The Boy, who was finishing his double double-header, got hit by a pitch on his first at-bat of his second baseball game of the night.  Of course I notice after he is hit that he is not wearing his Evo-Shield, but then I realize the Evo-Shield would have protected his elbow and not his wrist, which is where he was hit.

He normally bounces back from these things and steals a few bases as his way of saying, "Take that!"  But not last night. He had to be given a pinch runner. We iced it. It still hurt. He still could not move it.

Unfortunately, we only had 9 players last night. And after a little in-between inning drama, The Boy, took the field for the second inning. He wore a hat, but had no glove on. He held an ice pack. He had to take the field or we would have to forfeit. The Boy was not going to let that happen.

We waited out the game, which we won. Then we headed to the Emergency Room.

One is a little bit more swollen than the other!

We arrived at the Emergency Room about 10:40 p.m. We were told we were the third baseball player of the night. The other two players also ended up with broken bones. They also won their games as well.

They came and took us to a room. The x-ray people came. This was the first time I really allowed myself to think his arm might be broken, he could not get into a few of the positions the x-ray tech wanted him to do. Then they came back....more x-rays! By then I was a little concerned it was a larger break than I had suspected.

Finally, our ER doctor came in and told us it was a clean break right where it hurt. For your medical types, a non-displaced fracture of the ulna. Because it was a clean break (non-displaced) (the bones are still lined up) they would not need to cast it until next week.  An Ortho doctor came in, looking very tired straight from surgery (another one of the ball players had to have surgery to put his break back together). He explained why they splint it and not cast it at this point.

Next, they came in and put a splint on his arm. It is a semi-hard cast that will provide stabilization and protection for a week. Allowing the swelling to go down before they put the cast on. The Ortho-Doc already told The Boy to be picking out his cast color!

Staying awake was the hardest part of the night.
Discharge came just shy of 1:30 a.m. The Boy was so tired he was falling asleep walking! The only thing that kept him awake was his grumbling stomach. Which he also found disappointment in, all his favorite food places were closed at that time of the morning.  So, home to bed we went.

As a follow up, I know our coach is second beating himself up for not stopping the game. Many of you reading might be thinking the same thing. But, in this house, we have NONE of those thoughts. The Boy and I made that decision. He was not going to leave that field and force a forfeit. Not at all.

Thanks for all the concerns and prayers! We appreciate it very much.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

My New Guilty Pleasure!

Have you ever done something you knew you shouldn't?

I am doing it right now.  And I know I am going to pay for it later! But, I am still doing it.

Why? Because it is so yummy!!

I learned to make the best iced coffee today and I have to tell you I am in HEAVEN! Ree Drummond, aka The Pioneer Woman posted an article on her blog about how to make the perfect iced coffee.

I love iced coffee, but I could never get it right. I would brew the coffee, pour it over ice, and it would melt the ice. I could never get it cold enough without watering it all down.  Ree's article shows a cold brew method of making the coffee, that works great for putting it over ice.

I brewed some cold coffee this morning and I knew I should have stopped at one iced tea today, but then I had a second. But, now that my housework is done, I am ready for the week, and swimming with the family is over, I am sneaking in  a third one!

You can find this tutorial at The Pioneer Woman, Iced Coffee .  I lightened up my version of the iced coffee. I used skim milk and equal. Which is probably a good thing when you have three in one day.

So, who is gonna be up tonight? Maybe next time I should use decaf!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Pictorial

We have not spent a weekend at home, in our house, in over a month. When we have not been out of town, we have played in baseball tournaments that have kept us away from our home from early until bedtime. So, this weekend, we invited my mother up and declared this weekend a home weekend.

So, here is my Saturday in pictures.
At 6:00 a.m. I got new tires put on my car. By 6:30 I was having breakfast with The Husband, My Father-in-Law, and my Mother.  After that I got stuck in the rain storm while shopping.

My next stop was the City Market with my Mother, kids, and my junior high best friend. If you are ever in Kansas City on a Saturday, I highly recommend you stop by the City Market area. The sites, the smells, and the taste are unbelievably fresh!

We picked up fresh onions, limes, jalapenos, cilantro, asparagus, beets, squash, peppers, cabbage, carrots, cherries, and even some fresh tea leaves. I can hardly wait until my next weekend at home, so I can go back!

While we were shopping at the market, The Husband was home smokin'. I concluded tonight that I do not like beef ribs. I prefer pork.  Our freezer is stocked. We should not need to smoke for a long time. Funny smokin' story. I was naming off everything The Husband was cooking today and The Short Chic spoke up and corrected me, "Mom, Dad is cooking meat!" Huh, she told me!

The last thing I accomplished today was finishing some of my holiday crafts! You still have time to work on some for your holiday celebration.

  • First, I up-cycled a cardboard drink carrier into a cool condiment holder.  
  • Next, I made a door wreath using crepe paper. Super easy and way fun!
  • Third, I made a Fourth of July pennant banner. The blue pennants got treated to stars and the red pennants got treated to strips. It looks amazing on my deck!
  • Finally, I made some Independence Pinwheels.  I have yet to decide how to use them but they have been fun to make. And they look so stinking cute!!
Friends, that is all for this Saturday. I am exhausted and ready for bed! After a shower, I seem to smell like smoke.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Sporty Day

Yesterday was a crazy day for us. The Boy played in three sporting events in just a few hours.
3:00 p.m. Staley Freshman played basketball against Smithville. Staley won. In the last minute. I kid you not. We were losing by 7 with a minute left and ended up winning. It was a great game.
This is The Boy, making a basket in his first game.

The Boy then played a second game of basketball at 5:00 p.m.. This is The Boy, missing a shot in the second game. Staley Freshman played Park Hill South. Staley won this game as well.

At 8:30 p.m. The Boy and The Hawks played a game of baseball. This is The Boy, warming up and switching gears. Notice he has glasses on. He needs them now to see the ball.

This photo is The Boy's error in the game. NO, this is not warm up.

The Boy and his friend, sitting out. The Hawks were down 7 to 1. We rallied back. Hawks had the last at bat.  I know I just posted about enjoying close games more than a blow out. Karma got me on that one. We did not win this game until the last inning, over the time limit of the game.

Here is The Boy, I believe he was run 5 or 6. If you look closely, he has his tongue out in all the photos. Another of my father's traits coming out in The Boy.  What I did not get a photo of but I must say...The Hawks were tied up 8-8 the last inning. We had two runners on base.  The Boy came up to bat. He had a 3:1 count and he swung at a pitch. He knocked it clear to left field, made it safely to first base, and drove in the go ahead run. YEAH! Another win for the Hawks and a total confidence booster for The Boy!

We got home about 10:30. Tired. Both the Husband and myself have to be up and at work early. Thankfully, tonight we have no plans. At 5:30 p.m., I am already in my jammies! I am wondering if I can get away with serving cereal for dinner.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Day of Summer

Yesterday was the first day of summer. The real story of the day were the clouds. They stole the show from the sun. They were thick and dark and abundant. They looked as if any moment, they were going to open up and drop lots of rain on us.

But just behind those storm clouds was something else. The bluest of blue skies just hoping to be seen on their day. The first day of summer!

The Boy played ball last night. I should have packed a sweater. It was very chilly outside last night. Even this morning feels like it is middle of fall and not the second day of summer. Thank goodness we had the early game and not the late one!

Back to baseball...we have now played four straight days of baseball. We are also on a winning streak. The Boy is also on a hitting steak, again. Two nights ago, we had a close game. The final score was 7 to 4. Last night the final score was 23 to 0. I prefer the closer games. I am probably weird like that. It is more exciting to watch a close game. It teaches the boys how to deal with stress. And it is a total confidence booster.  Other parents may not like it so close, but like I said, I am weird that way.

I hope everyone has a happy summer. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but enjoy it and make the most of it, for it will be gone before we know it.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Today is Father's Day. But I can't pick up the phone and call my Dad. Nor did I buy him a card, or a fishing pole, or make his favorite foods. Instead, last weekend I paid his grave a visit.  My Dad left this earth just shy of 13 years ago. He died from Lung Cancer. His fight was short. His Cancer was very aggressive.

I miss him. I miss him on days like today. I miss him on spring days when the mushrooms are popping out and I want him to take me mushroom hunting. I miss him on days after a thunderstorm. We use to talk about how much rain he got. I miss him on days when my husband is fishing. I know he would love to see those fish. I miss him every summer when The Boy wishes out loud that his Grandpa could teach him how to hand fish. I miss him in the winter months when the snow is fresh and safe to go out rabbit hunting. I miss him on days when my car makes a funny noise and I can't just call him and describe it to him.

Thirteen years is a long time but some days it does not seem that he has been gone that long. The above photo was taken at my cousins wedding about two months before he passed away. I wish we had taken more photos. I wish I looked better in the photos we did take. The below photo was taken when my son was six-eight months old.  Maybe about three months before he started to get sick. What is hard to think about some times is that in less than a year between the two photos, my Dad became sick and died.

More than anything, I wish my kids had had the opportunity to get to know him. The Boy was only 18 months old when he passed away. And The Short Chic. Well, she was nothing more than my wish for the future. I can say, through me they know some of his traits. I always thought I was going to grow up to be like my Mom, and in many ways I have. But I can be my Daddy's daughter at times; critical, short-tempered, and playful. So, he does live on, in spirit with us all.

Now, besides missing my Dad today, we have had one crazy Father's Day weekend. The Boy and his baseball team played in our State Championship Tournament. We played two games on Saturday; we won one and lost one. To be very honest, the boys did not play well. We went home Saturday with our heads low thinking we would compete in another tournament without success.

I woke up Sunday and sent a motivational text message to the boy. It said, "very few times in life you will be given a second chance. Hawks baseball has that rare chance today. You are better than you played yesterday. You have to want to bring home that trophy today. You have to make it happen. Not for us parents, but for yourselves. Go out, play hard, win big."  Not bad for motivation at 6:14 a.m. even if I say so myself.

On the way to both games I said prayers. Saturday I prayed for a win. Sunday I prayed the boys would all play their best. And their best is what they played. We played two games. We won both. Every member of that team helped our team win their State Championship!

After the tournament, we went to have a picnic at a cute park behind one of our local Bass Pro Stores. The park is surrounded by water and it made for a muggy, humid, and super hot picnic. Of course The Short Chic did not seem to miss a beat. She ran from play equipment to play equipment. We watched The Husband fish around and we found a frog, geese and baby ducks.

To conclude, the day has been bittersweet. You can't help but think about your father on Father's Day. And I miss mine, a lot. The flip side of that, I am married to a wonderful man, who is a wonderful father and stepfather to my children. And to see your children have success on Father's Day is just icing on the cake.

A Broken Heart

As a Mom, when your children hurt you hurt. That is the case tonight.

Miss Medical Student's heart is hurt tonight. My heart hurts for her.

Despite being busy with medical school, Miss Medical Student really wanted a dog. She knew logically when she made it through her second year and started clinicals she would have no time to care for herself, let alone a dog. But some decisions are not made logically. They are made with the heart.

Because she is so smart, she hunted and found a situation that was perfect for her. She applied to be a host to raise a future service dog. She also found out that she could split the hosting duties; she would keep the puppy until she started clinicals and then another host family would take over and finish his training.

She starts clinicals on Monday. Today was the day she had to say good bye to her puppy, Vino. I am thankful for Vino. In a world full of studying, classes, labs, study groups, test, and studying, Vino brought moments of comfort and love to Miss Medical Student. And she needed that. She is so far away from home. She is far from those who love and care about her.

So, yes, today her heart is broken. Listening to her tonight, I felt like I was listening to a mom/dad who have decided to give their babies up for adoption. She wants Vino to know she loved him. She wants him to know she wants him to be successful. She wants him to know this decision is hard. She wants him to know he can always come back to her home. She wants him to know her decision was made for the best interest of both of them.

Yes, her heart is broken. No matter how long she knew this day would come, one can not prepare for it. And even if I am not her mom, I still want to be a mom to her. I want to jump in my car and start driving to her place. I want to take that hurt and make it small. I want to fix it. All I can do is call her and offer her my support.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday Baking

I am the world's worst at letting fresh fruits/veggies spoil. I love to eat fresh fruits and veggies. But I just seem to have no moderation when it comes to buying them.

Last week I purchased some fresh blueberries. For some reason today while I was working those blueberries were just weighing heavily on my mind. I needed to use them before they started to mold.

So I rushed straight home after work and began to bake. Homemade Blueberry Muffins with Struesel Topping. Our house smells so good right now!

The Short Chic took a bite and said, "these are the best muffins I have ever eaten!" That's good, right? I mean she is only three. And she has only ever had store purchased ones. Either way, I am walking around feeling like Betty Crocker!

Of course, The Boy, never once stopped talking on his phone as he inhaled it. I guess he liked them.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Amish Country

We traveled to my mother's this weekend for our annual family reunion. The reunion did not start till noon so we got up early and went to Jamesport, Missouri to visit the Amish shops.

My Grandma Loretta introduced me to Jamesport and the Amish community when I was just a little girl. I would go and stay with her during the summer. She would take me to H & M County Store and buy Carob. My Grandma Loretta was a diabetic and she could eat Carob. She also would go to the green house and purchase flowers that she would plant all around her house every summer. I remember once we went to the green house and purchased her flowers and then went to the next store. The Amish lady realized she had overcharged my grandmother and sought her out at the next store to give her back the amount she overcharged her. My grandma  was so impressed, she said to me on the way home, "Pamela, remember this. No other store would have sought me out to return that money. Remember this place when you get older."

Well, remember I have. And I visit there often, even though my Grandma only had to travel about 1/2 hour to get there, I make the 1 hour 30 minute drive as often as I can.  I LOVE sprinkles and found my supply running just a little lower than I like. So, it was stock up time. This will not be my only visit to Jamesport this summer. I am trying to organize a girls weekend there with my extended family/friends.  A girl can not get enough sprinkles!

Look at all the cool sprinkles I got this time! Orange, yellow, red/white/blue, purple, more red/white/blue. Pink Sprinkles, Pink NonPariels, White Pearlz, and Silver Sugar Crystalz!! I can't hardly wait to make something with the Silver Sugar Crystalz. The great news, these were about a dollar each, with the exception of the silver crystalz, those were about two dollars. I should also mention the containers are way bigger than anything you are going to find at Wal Mart or even Hobby Lobby.

I found some new flavors. These are LorAnn oils and I got them in Orange, Strawberry, Cinnamon, and Pineapple. They cost about $1.25 each.

And cupcake liners, who can say no to them. Look at how cute these are!

So, yes, I purchased a few things that were not baking related. The kids love the Cheddar Cheese snack mix. And I decided to try the Spicy Quinoa. We love Quinoa and hope this will make a nice side dish to all the Mexican food we eat.

The Amish do not believe in having photos of themselves. So, I really tried hard to honor their request. I took one photo of a father/son from behind. The rest of the photos were taken without people in them. I love wondering around the county catching a life that is simpler in so many ways than mine, yet a life that is harder than mine in many ways.

As many times as I have gone to Jamesport, I guess my son has never been there. He spent the day totally amazed at what he was seeing. He kept saying: "This rocks!" "Can I have a horse/buggy?" Can I become Amish?"  He was fascinated by the way their light their homes, he was shocked by how many propane tanks were outside H & M Country Store. He begged for an Amish hat.

And then I reminded him, these teens did not have a cell phone. Or watch the MLB, NFL, or NBA. They did not wear Nike Hyperdunks. These teens work from the minute they get up to the minute they go to bed.

In the end, he got in the car and drove home with us. Texting his friends the entire way!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Street Food

Today, I tried something new. Street food. Unlike New York City, Kansas City is known for its bbq and not its street food.
Normally, I never leave my office during the day. I bring my lunch and eat at my desk. But, today, I decided to get out and explore. One of my coworkers is always raving about a vender, Los Tules, so I thought I should give it a try.
For $3.00 I was able to purchase a bean tostada and a Astada corn taco. What can I was yummy! The taco had a nice kick to it. And best of all, my lunch consisted of about 400 calories and I burned nearly 175 walking to/from the office to get it!
That folks is a win/win!!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Book Review and Life Application

Last summer, I asked Facebook friends for reading suggestions. One of my friends stated, "Anything by Kristin Hannah."  I had never heard of Kristin Hannah but I was game for any suggestions so I rented several of her books from the library.

She is addictive. After reading one story rather quickly, I suggested her to my Mom. We are both now reading her every word.

Kristin Hannah took me on an emotional roller-coaster as I read the book, Firefly Lane. I actually started reading it right after my diagnosis. Little did I know that the book touched on cancer. But that roller-coaster ride was minimal compared to the ride I went on with her new book, Night Road.

Since I work with children in foster care, I am such a sucker for a story with a foster child in it. Night Road is about a girl who has been in and out of foster care for years as her mother struggles with addiction. Finally, her social workers find her a long-lost relatives who opens her home to this emotionally hurt teenager. In this home, she meets a girl, Mia,  from a super rich, intact, loving family. Mia may have everything but friends. Her twin brother is super popular and well liked but Mia is socially awkward, has acne, and does not really fit in. (Sounds like most of the people I knew at age 14!) The two girls meet at become immediate best friends!

As life is about to take off for the three main characters in this book, tragedy strikes. The rest of the book deals with how each character reacts and deals with the tragedy.

I am not a book own BFF has never finished reading Harry Potter and I have yet to say a word about the ending! But I will say, this book deals a lot with teen drinking and responsibilities teenagers can/must take. I have been a crying sobbing mess for three days as I read this book.

My own son is 14 years old and I know too well, that my days of dealing with these issues are coming. He will be a freshman in high school in August. I do not think I am naive about teen drinking. I as a parent, like I am sure my parents did, would like to see him not drink. But then the part of me that remembers my own teen years, I have to ask, is that realistic?

There are so many other things I consider now that I have never considered before. Kids have prescription  pill parties now. They bring whatever drugs they can find/have access to, put them in a big bowl and share.  People lace cigarettes or marijuana with other drugs. An inexperienced teen might think they are only smoking pot and come to realize later, it was laced with PCP. People put drugs in drinks when you turn your head. It is dangerous out there. (As I type this, I sound a lot like Jude, the mother in Night Road!!)

Reading this book, bringing these things to the front of my mind, told me it was time to start educating my son. Last night, as the boy was getting ready for bed and I am on the couch sniffling while finishing Night Road, I stole a moment to talk to him about teen drinking. We set expectations out but also made a back up plan. I do not want him drinking. I do not want him using drugs. I do not want him to think it is okay to try a prescription pill just beacuse it is okay for someone else to take. But, if he finds himself in the situation where he has made different choices, he is to never get into a car with someone who has been using. Nor is he ever allowed to drive if he has been using. I promised to come and pick him up, no questions asked. Now, being realistic, I know I will be mad. But I told him, I would rather he and I deal with my anger than me have to deal with his or someone elses deceased body. 

This is serious stuff.  Reality TV has helped bring the idea of partying and how cool it is to be a partier to our homes. I see what he is watching. I KNOW what I am watching. Reality TV does a great job of showing how much fun Snooky had at the club but do they show the legal consequences for her behaviors? 

If you are parenting a teen or will be soon, make plans to have these conversations with your child. And read Night Road by Kristin Hannah. Both of these are good things, as Martha would say.

I also realize I am new to this parenting a teen thing. Any advice out there? How did you handle the teens/drinking issue?

Monday, June 6, 2011

A Baseball Weekend

No surprise there, it was a baseball weekend. We did our first out of town tournament this weekend. In of all places...Branson, MO.

We met up with the team early Friday morning and caravaned south. The boys had a good time painting up everyone's windows. When we arrived at our hotel, we found out we were sharing the pool and the rest of the hotel with three other baseball teams in our tournament and in our age division!

Our first game was Friday night at 8:40. Which left plenty of time for shopping before the game.  The entire family was awarded new shoes. The Boy really cleaned up at the Nike Outlet store! And The Short Chic, well let's just say she added a few new swimsuits to her line up!

She really had a good time in the hotel's swimming pool practicing her rad new swim moves.

We went 0-3 in the tournament. We played some very tough teams and had a round of very bad officiating. Just for the record, I do not believe when it is this hot, that the umpires should be allowed to officiate more than 2 games in a row. Overall, we had a great team bonding weekend.
Team Parents huddled under our make your own shade tent!

Pre-Game "pep" talk?
 Our second game was suppose to start at 5:10 but I think it ran 1 hour behind. It was absolutely hot and sunny at the field.

The fields were running behind. So the boys had to sit and wait . 

The Short Chic hanging out under the sun shade in her new orange outfit. She wore her new  clothing as fast as I  was purchasing them. 

And did I tell you all how hot it was?  HOT HOT HOT!!  Luckily for us, we only played one game  in the day light.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Little Hope

There will be more later on our weekend, but I wanted to give you a glimpse. Hope. Really, what Cancer patient doesn't hold onto it and live for it. Now, I shall wear it. I have a lot of hope.