Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Behind the Glossy Picture

Yesterday, Glamour Magazine's October issue hit the newsstands.

I've been waiting for it to go into print because in the spring, I was interviewed for a story they were printing in October about breast cancer, and the decision to get a mastectomy.

It's kind of been in the news a bit. Research is showing that (according to the parameters set) too many women are getting mastectomies and too many women are getting contralateral prophylactic mastectomy - which is a fancy way of saying, that instead of only getting the breast with cancer removed, you chose to get the other breast removed as well. Which is what I did. And maybe another blog post in the future.


Today the article came out. I was sent a PDF file of just this story a few days ago, but I went out today and bought a hard copy as well. I instantly took a photo and shared it on social media. Because, it's what I do.

It's kind of cool to be included in an article that will reach a wide variety of readers. I felt a bit proud about it.

And here's where the irony kicks in.

Today was an awful, horrible, no good day. I mean the kind of day where I fought back tears all day, was too tired to get anything meaningful done, I felt awful.

My iron levels have completely tanked again. So with that comes a lot of no-good, awful feelings. Including (but not limited too): being more exhausted than I've ever felt before, freezing when no one else is, tired, irritability, feeling sad, and having a sluggish feeling. I can't explain how I just in general feel icky adequately. But I do. I want to just crawl into bed and never get out. Of course, the dumb part is it isn't helping the insomnia one bit. It's like the more tired I feel, the harder it is to fall asleep. Because life isn't fair.

Now, I have great friends. And everyone was happy and excited for me. So I had lots of comments - lots of wows! Great job! I was called a rock star, famous, glamorous, a superstar, smart and brave. A few people shared with their friends.

And all I could do? Was cry.

Because I was just too tired. Did they know I didn't get out of bed today until 11? That I had to take a nap at 4? That I barely managed to stay awake that long even? How I didn't even talk to my husband when he got home from work because I just couldn't even handle getting a few words out? How I had trouble helping the 12 year old with math today because all of my brain wasn't firing? How I jumped in to a facebook conversation I shouldn't have and made a friend message me to ask if I was mad at her (and I wasn't)? How I spent over an hour researching iron-deficient anemia and couldn't find one website on how to treat it if you are allergic to iron? How I decided I needed to see a new doctor to help? And how I talked myself out of because the doctor would think I was just lazy or something? How I didn't even pick up knitting needles today and knit because I just couldn't even imagine finding that fun? Or about how I sat on my husband's lap at the end of the night, crying my eyes out? That I cried it wasn't fair? That I told him this sucks? That some days it takes every ounce of energy just to get out of bed? And that how, even when my friends were being, kind and supportive all it did was make me want to cry more? 

No. They didn't know any of this.

I mentioned that my iron levels were low when I found out. I didn't mention that I already knew. I don't need a blood test anymore to know. It's the same symptoms, in almost the same order, every single time my iron levels tank.

I just hate to sound like a spinning record. I hate that I'm constantly talking about the exhaustion or not feeling well. Second verse, same as the first, a little bit louder and a little bit worse. That about sums it up.

I'm tired of it. It's old to me. I can't imagine how it must feel to other people. I want to yell at myself to get over it, get up, move on, get things done. Smile. Be happy. Laugh. Look like life is grand. Like you have a life that would be worthy of a magazine.

But those glossy pictures don't tell the whole story. The one paragraph summary isn't the full picture. It is enough for this one article. This one quote, which I think summarizes one moment well. But there were many moments before that, and many after, and many more to come.

They aren't all magazine-worthy. But they are my moments. I shall try to enjoy being in print for a few days. I'll just have to do it in between naps.

Friday, September 05, 2014


It's been a bit of a long week around here. While I haven't had any more awful migraines, I've pretty much had a constant headache all week. Thankfully, the medicine I have has kept it from being more.

Earlier this week, I joked, that I was feeling so awful I wasn't even knitting. It's a good way to gauge how I'm feeling for sure!

While it's true that I haven't been knitting much this week, I did recently finish a blanket that I am just in love with.

This blanket was sent off to a beautiful little girl. Yes, I know it's blue. Yes, I know that little girls traditionally get much pink. No, this is not a statement on trying to blur gender color lines.

This blue was deliberately chosen for this specific little girl.

You see I met her parents kayaking last year. It was clear they love the water. It was clear they shared their love of the water with their children. And I knew, when the new baby arrived, she too, would be exposed to the water.

So, when picking out yarn, I was drawn to the blue. This shade in particular reminded me of my kayaking trip. So I decided, hey, why not go with blue.

After that I searched for a good pattern. I wanted something "pretty" as I felt blue was a bit untraditional. And that's when I stumbled upon this lovely blanket with cables and lace, I just knew it was the right one.

The cabling and lace reminded me of waves in the water. And I just thought this blanket with this pattern will be perfect, so I set off to knit it.

Now, cables aren't my favorite to knit, but I love how they look. This blanket is no disappointment there. The cables look lovely.

I'm so pleased with how this blanket turned out. I hope this blanket reminds the family of water!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Some Days Are Hard Yo

I know I am not unique in this, but some days are just so hard.

I've had a string of hard days here lately, and I can't lie, it's all weighing heavily on me.

Actually, it's been a long summer. I've been sick off and on, run down, worn out. There have been many doctors appointments and more tests than I think is fair.

Yes, I said it, it's all completely unfair. I know, oh, I know that no one ever said life would be fair, yadda-yadda-yadda. I don't really care. I still think it's completely unfair.

That aside, let me tell you how my Tuesday went. My 14 year old, as she was getting ready for school "Mom, you text or message me if you need anything today, okay?"

My 14 year old. A child (who would be mortified to know I called her a child, but she is) who should be light-hearted and thinking about school and all the things high schoolers think about, asking me to let her know if I needed anything.

Pardon me for a moment while I say, this is so fucked up.

You see this weekend was an awful couple of days for me. A migraine, followed by a day of not being able to stand up without getting dizzy, followed by a general not feeling well, followed by the most excruciatingly painful migraine I've had ever in my life. I mean, we were about to go to the ER when the meds kicked in or the headache passed (just as suddenly as it arrived).

And you know who was here most of the time helping me through it? My 14 year old.

This is about the point that I start to feel a bit ragey inside and really, really start to think that this is all incredibly unfair.

But we muster through it. Her and I talk. I tell her this is unfair, that I think this has changed her. She comments that everyone has hard times and that everything in her life has shaped her, not just this.  She says it's fine and deflects to talk about how I'm doing.

Because my 14 year old is wise beyond her years.

She mothers me. She figuratively holds my hand. She stays nearby, on the watch, trying to predict if I will need something: food, water, a bucket, medicine. She calls her father (my husband) to let him know what is going on. She tells her brother to keep it down and to not bother me.

These are the things I should be doing for her if she gets sick.

But no, in this house, often she is picking up slack for me and helping me.

And it sucks so very, very much.

I say things like, I hope this makes her more empathetic as an adult; a caring, understanding person; that somehow this will make her a better person. Which is silly because she is already a better person. But she is also still 14. And I hate that she takes on this responsibility. Just once I'd like her to throw a fit, to get a "NO! I don't want to vacuum! You do it!"

I'm sure that sounds weird, but it's what a 14 year old is supposed to do. But she doesn't. She knows. She knows that I need the help. She knows I'm not making her do stuff just to make her do stuff. She, as I've said before is wise beyond her years. She always has been - even as a young child we often said this about her. I know she is still her, her essence. But I know that my cancer and subsequent sickness has shaped her.

Because some days are hard. They are so hard for me. And I know they are hard for my family. I don't live in a bubble. Things that happen to me do not stay just with me. It ripples out. I see it and hear it from my husband, from my parents, from friends. There is worry there. It still exists.

Everyone knows I'm "okay" but they are also aware that I'm not. They are aware of the hard days, the bad days, the sad days. They love me through them and support me the best they can. And I'm so incredibly grateful for that.

But some days are hard. And there is no getting around it. They are just hard.

I press on. We all press on. We cling to the days that are not hard, or are not as hard.

Because it's not fair. But it's life. We can't pick the hand we are dealt, only play what we are given. So we do the best we can each and every day.

Some days that means the 14 year old asks me to text her if I need anything. Thankfully, most days it means I ask her to text me if she needs anything.

Friday, August 29, 2014

What I'm streaming August

*As a reminder, I am part of the Netflix StreamTeam. I am being compensated for sharing about Netflix with you, but all stories shared are true and all thoughts and opinions are my own!

When I was a kid, I watched the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit with a couple of cousins. We all LOVED the movie! In fact, that year for Christmas, I was given a Roger Rabbit ornament that I had until a few years ago, when it finally broke.

Needless to say, I was head over heels in love with that crazy rabbit.

Also, I kind of felt pretty brave in getting to the end of the movie. The ending can be a bit, well, scary. I mean, it's not that scary, but when you are 9 years old, it feels a bit, scary. But I managed to make it to the end and not only survive watching it, but liking it.

So, you can imagine how happy I was when the husband came home from work last week and told me that he learned Netflix was now streaming the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And I was even more thrilled when he said we should sit down as a family Saturday night and watch it.

Saturday, we picked the two youngest kids up from camp. A pretty awesome camp - Camp Kesem - a not-for-profit camp for kids who have a parent who had/has cancer. It is a great week for the kids to get away and just have fun and yet, a safe space to share how cancer has impacted them. This is our second year sending the kids to camp. And since it was our second year, we knew they would come home totally hyped up as they told us every. single. thing. that happened at camp and they would eventually crash out of pure exhaustion. So Saturday night was the PERFECT night to watch a movie in our house.

We all gathered around the tv, turned on netflix and started streaming the movie. Everyone was hooked. Even the 14 year old watched most of the movie with us, which felt really nice. We laughed, we gasped, we followed along with the story. I, having not seen the movie in a really long time, forgot just how, um, curvy Jessica was drawn. I never, as a kid, understood the scene where she plays pat-a-cake (neither did 2/3rds of my kids!). And despite watching it with adult eyes, I loved every minute. Even the part where my 8 year old (who isn't much younger than I was when I watched it the first time) leaned over, squeezed my hand, and whispered "This movie is really good, but a little bit scary," and I squeezed his hand back because I knew exactly what he meant.

It was a wonderful Saturday night, and a perfect wrap up to the kids week away. For me, it was a good way to have them close to me for a few hours after missing them so much all week too! I love sharing with the kids the shows and movies I watched, the books I read, the games I played as a kid. They don't always like what I liked at their age, but Roger Rabbit definitely hit the mark for all of us!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Writing Tour Update

First, forgive me, as I'm a bit late to share this with you!

When I participated in the Blog Tour a few weeks ago, I tagged two fellow bloggers that I love: Angie and Carol Anne. I told you when they answered the questions, that I would share with you!

So here I am, finally remembering to do so!

Carol Anne wrote about it here.
Angie wrote about it here.

I hope you'll take a few minutes to go learn some things about them. I loved reading their posts and learning more about how they write and create.

On another note, I now have in my possession, things that both these amazing ladies created. When I was in chemo, Angie sent me this lovely piece of embroidery. I can't tell you how much it cheered me up and just made me feel so good inside. I was lucky that a lot of people wrapped their arms around me and often sent little notes, cards, books, scarves, gifts to me. And this is one of the lovely items I received. Before we moved, it was in our living room, so I could see it every day! We haven't found a home for it in the new house, but I'm working on it. I snagged a wall and talked to the husband about filling it with all sorts of lovely things that inspire me (as I can see it from my sewing/craft area).

Another thing that will be going on that wall is this lovely cardinal photograph. Carol Anne took this picture and sent me a copy. As I said before, I love her photography and I'm SO excited that I will have one of her gorgeous photographs hanging on my wall. As a bonus, cardinals are extra special to me, so I couldn't ask for a better photograph to put on my wall. It just arrived at the end of last week, so I need to get it framed so I can get it hung!

This connection that I have to both of these woman, who I've never met in person, is real and is deep and I'm so grateful for it. This is the beauty of blogging, of being on twitter, of social media for me - it's the connections I've made with other people. They are priceless. Sometimes things are so different, and yet, there is always something there to connect us. Sometimes there are a lot of things there to connect us and we can joke that we must have been separated at birth! Sometimes I like to joke that my computer is really important to me because all my friends live in it, and while they all don't, a good number of them do. I've got some pretty amazing people in my life because of the internet!