Saturday, April 20, 2013
Lauren and I are engaged in a bit of a power struggle lately: the battle of the barrette. Her hair is getting quite long and hangs in front of her blue-gray eyes. Fortunately, it's wispy fine and see-through blonde so it's not too much of a mess. I try to explain to her that she might actually like having her hair out of her face and wouldn't it be pretty if her barrette had a bow that matched her outfit? On this particular day, she humored me and wore this little blue bow for several hours. Oddly, she even insisted on wearing it during her nap. But most of the time, she's still pretty adamant that she doesn't want anything in her hair and will throw hair bows and hair elastics an impressive distance from her.
My girl definitely knows what she wants. This has placed her right in the middle of sibling squabbles. Even she and Tobin argue over toys these days. His meticulously ordered car-race tournaments--replete with seeding of the competitors--don't mix well with her sudden and strong interest in one particular purple car. She's definitely the youngest of the kids to use phrases like "Mine!" and "My turn!" As sharing is especially hard for her, we're trying to get the boys to help her learn by getting them to ask for something instead of trying to grab it back from her. Sometimes she'll surprise us by returning something with a concilatory "Okay."
Understandably, Lauren is very intent on keeping up with her brothers. She will slide down any slide on any playground. She's fearless. She reminds me of Evan with her enthusiasm. When coming down a slide she'll yell something like "Okay! Watch! Woo hoo!" She'll spend much of the time at a playground squealing as she runs from one thing to the next. And "woo hoo!" is like a catch-phrase for her. She uses it frequently--when finishing a meal, when catching a ball, when climbing into her car seat on her own--and often solicits an accompanying high-five.
Lauren is talking up a storm. She particularly loves numbers and now counts rather effortlessly to ten and adorably ventures into the teens. I love singing to her before I put her in her bed. She snuggles up and sings her ABC's and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" with me, usually with her thumb in half-way in her mouth. It's a nice pre-sleep bonding time for us, replacing our nursing routine that we had to end so abruptly about two months ago. Around that time, I was really the only one who could put her to sleep. Now she's fairly easy for anyone--Matt, Mimi, Grandma--to put down for a nap or bedtime if they follow her reading and singing routine. I'm very proud of her for making this transition. It's so helpful for all of us and I'm thankful that others get to share this especially sweet time with her.
As the weather has warmed we're going on more frequent and longer walks. Walking is especially good for me as it helps counteract my fatigue. The boys prefer to ride their bikes and Lauren likes to stop and pick up rocks and sticks and "pretty flowers!" This made walks a difficult "shared" activity as one of us walked quickly to keep tabs on the boys while the other hung back with Lauren to try to coax her to pick up the pace, or at least walk in the same direction as everyone else. She's not a big fan of the stroller these days--plus it's kind of annoying to add to the mix as one of us usually ends up carrying Evan's little bike when we cross the street or encounter big hills--so Matt started carrying Lauren on his back in the Ergo. While she doesn't love it all the time, she rides happily enough, especially if Matt plies her with granola bars and apples along the way. And at some point, we always let her get down so she can run and squeal or collect treasures. In this sense, she's learning to compromise, which means gives me hope for barrettes or ponytails--and everything.
Posted by allison at 3:05 PM
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Saturday ended a great week for us. That morning, we said good-bye to Mimi who was with us for the week following my third chemo treatment on Monday. As always, we were sad to see her go but thankful she'll be back in just three weeks. We are grateful for her seemingly endless energy, spent playing with the kids, cleaning, cooking and helping in so many other ways. Her visit allowed me to rest and take it especially easy this past week. Once again, the most acute side effect of the chemo for me is fatigue, but I had a pretty good week with naps and good nights of sleep. I felt good enough to go on walks every day and even go out on a dinner date with Matt on Friday. Three chemo treatments down, five to go.
We spent Saturday afternoon at the ballpark. It was a really beautiful day with temps remaining pleasantly in the 60s, except for the green clouds of pollen wafting through the air. We found a shady spot for my chair, where I camped out for most of the game while Matt chased Evan and Lauren around. They did occasionally find their way back over to me to sit still for snacks and water breaks. I think Matt at least got to see two of Tobin's three at-bats. Maybe.
Tobin had a great game. He went two-for-three with a run scored. He also did well fielding some hits while playing left and center field and throwing them back into the infield. He still gets especially excited about scoring a run and did so with gusto this time, sliding into home. Although his team didn't win the game, he had a blast and was over the moon to be awarded the game ball by his coach.
Posted by allison at 9:20 PM
Saturday, April 06, 2013
For the first time in five years, we found ourselves at home for spring break instead of visiting Matt's mom in Louisville. Fortunately, Grandma joined us for the week before and stayed through Easter weekend, so at least we got to spend the holiday with her like we usually do. She was here to help out for my second chemo treatment on March 25. We had a wonderful time with her. The kids loved having her at their house and especially enjoyed the trips to Target, Walmart and even Kroger that all increased their inventory of toy cars, super heroes and books.
My second treatment went about the same as my first. In some ways, it went even better because I wasn't as anxious the day of and the days following since I knew what to expect. Once again, I really didn't have trouble with nausea; the steroids and anti-nausea drugs I take are great. But about three days after my infusion, I developed a cold with a persistent cough. (It seems that at least one person in our house has been snotty for the last two months!) The cough disrupted my sleep for a few nights, which fed my fatigue. I felt really run down on Easter Sunday and spent most of Monday in bed, which was by far the worst I've felt since chemo started.
The combo of the cold and having to shave my head the same weekend was a particularly tough one. I was feeling terrible and felt like I looked sick too. Losing my hair was something I'd been dreading and I really couldn't figure out a way to make myself feel better about it. It's such a concrete, stark reminder that I have cancer. I can't hide it. Matt went with me to the hair salon where I got my head shaved, and we both cried in the car afterward. When we got home, Tobin gave me a sweet, amused smile and a hug. Lauren pointed and laughed in an endearing way. Evan grinned and said, "Hey, where'd your hair go, Mom?" It was his most positive reaction to any of my hair changes so far. While he does tell me from time to time that he doesn't like my hair being all gone, he likes to feel my head and reminds me to wear a hat when I take a nap. The kids' amusement helped me lighten up about it all too. I cover my head when we go out, but around the house I don't usually wear anything and the kids already act like it's no big deal. And I will say that while it's jarring for me to see my bald head reflected in the mirror, it's not as awful as it was watching clumps of hair fill the shower drain. So in that sense, shaving my head has allowed me to control my hair loss and try to move past it, or at least get on with the business of getting used to head scarves and hats.
Since Tuesday of this week, I've been feeling so much better. I went to the doctor that day to confirm that I just had a cold and to be sure my lungs sounded okay. My cough has gotten better and I've been getting good sleep again. This has allowed me to enjoy the rest of the week with Matt and the kids. We've taken lots of walks with the boys riding their bikes, had a fun playdate with friends and gone out to dinner. Today, I've had a Saturday full of very usual things: eating pancakes for breakfast, cooking a batch of marinara sauce for the freezer, shopping for groceries, going out for frozen yogurt, playing at the park, making homemade pizza, and watching a movie with the kids and basketball with Matt. When it feels like much of my life's been turned upside down, a normal day like today feels especially precious. It helps ground me for what lies immediately ahead: my third round of chemo on Monday.
Posted by allison at 9:56 PM