Friday, August 30, 2013


So, last week while I was having the time of my life on the water (which I will blog about more later!), my kids were away at their own week long camp. This meant that the husband was home alone. It was supposed to be his week to relax, play video games, get some peace and quiet, etc, etc.

It didn't turn out that way for him though. Last Monday, my husband lost his job. The company he worked for had to, sadly, close their doors.

My sweet husband didn't call and tell me Monday though. He wanted me to have the best week possible and thought telling me this would not sit well with me, and so waited to tell me on Friday - the last day of my trip.

{side note:  he was right. And I'm mostly glad he didn't tell me because frankly, being out of town, there wasn't much I could do to help him. That said, a very small part of me is angry he didn't call me right away LOL!}

I can tell you right now, I started crying when he told me. Not like sobbing, bawling crying, but tears coming out of my eyes crying. I am a stay-at-home mom. He is our income. And just as importantly, he is our insurance. On one hand, I knew no one was going to let our family drown under the weight of this, but still, it's not a place we ever wanted to be.

A few hours later though he called with some good news. He had some job offers and was going to accept one. You can imagine how relieved I was! Talk about roller coaster of a few hours. In about 2 hours I went from thinking husband was employed, then unemployed, then employed again. I had a sense of peace right away about this whole thing - we were going to be okay, no matter what happened and I was also thinking that we've been through worse.

I was enjoying this sense of peace. I do not do change well at all and was impressed with myself that my anxiety wasn't higher. And of course, I was feeling extremely grateful at how it all went. I mean, he was dealt a bad hand, but turned it around rather quickly.

I talked to him again that night and reminded him to enroll us in COBRA right away - we needed to have insurance and we knew the new company had a waiting period to enroll. And the floor dropped out from me again. With his company going out of business, COBRA is not an option. Somehow I managed to stay calm. I knew we'd manage and it would be okay. I was still carrying a sense of peace in me, and honestly, I thought (and still do) that in the long run, things would be better overall for us.

Tuesday I kind of had my freak-out day. Also, my hormones were going crazy - which didn't help (this is probably because the first thing I did was drop my daily medicine to every other day since I wasn't sure if I'd be able to refill it). I was a joy to be around on Tuesday, and by joy, I mean a complete nightmare.

Husband started his new job Tuesday. We bought a new-to-us car the day before.* I wasn't sure what was going on with insurance. Hormones raging. Too much change for me to handle. Sigh.

I'm feeling better today. Last night we applied for some gap insurance coverage. I have applied to a separate program for any cancer care I might need (since our gap insurance will not cover any of that - it is a very basic policy). At the end of the day, I'm reminding myself that it could be so much worse. We really are lucky. On the other hand, I also want to ask the universe to kind of give us a break for a bit! But, really, I'm so grateful my husband has a job already. But there is a lot of change going on around here. I'm trying to embrace it all as gracefully as I can.

*I know, I know, he loses a job and we get a car? His old car was 15 years old with a lot of miles on it. It is in the shop about once a month right now. His new job has a commute that is four times as long as the old job and we can not afford for his car to break down weekly. So we had to bite the bullet and get something newer with fewer miles. Which we did, and while I would call the car new-to-us, it certainly isn't new! And we don't have to worry about it breaking down, which is really important!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


IMGP1581Last week I had an incredible experience - I was able to take part in a kayaking trip with First Descents in the Washington DC area. It was Ah. Mazing.

I left my house on Saturday the 17th where I took a train from Chicago to DC. The train ride was about 20 hours and it was a pleasant train ride. My seatmate and I ended up talking quite a bit - which was nice, since when you travel as a party of one, you never know who you will end up next to (though, to be fair, I've only had good experiences with my seatmates!).

Night came and it was time to attempt to sleep. I sat next to the window and spent a fair amount of time looking out of it, as I would sleep for a bit, wake for a bit, sleep, wake, etc. I picked up pretty quickly that almost every time I looked out the window there was water.

Maybe I was paying more attention to it since I was about to head into a week of kayaking, of being on the water. I won't lie, I was feeling pretty anxious about it all. I was heading to a place that I didn't know, to meet people I didn't know, and to do something I hadn't really done before. And oh. I had to leave my family to do it - something I've never done before. I mean, I never even went to summer camp as a child. So I was, you know, slightly nervous - and by slightly I mean extremely.

But there was water everywhere! The train seemed to run right next to rivers often. It's gorgeous to see - the moon reflecting off the water as the train passes by. It's peaceful to watch - which is exactly what I needed. Since it was too late to turn around, anything to help relax me was good!

IMGP1944I got to thinking all the way back to high school English class. One year we read quite a few books where water was prominent. And I had to write several papers about the symbolism. Water often meant a cleansing, a rebirth, a moment to start new.

Now that I'm home and the week is over, I think, how appropriate that I was thinking about this on the first day.

This trip was awesome and life changing - in small ways, quiet ways, but meaningful ways. I've got a bit more peace about things now. Things aren't perfect. They aren't all magically better. But things are better. I've got more faith in my body - which I have viewed as broken, weak, and a disappointment these last few years. I feel lighter.

I think getting away from it all to do things I never thought I could, was good for me. It was good for my soul. And, well, it was just fun! I laughed a lot last week and boy did it feel good! I was surrounded by such amazing people - each and every one of them. Conversations felt easy and natural. This group of people who got so much about cancer and life after cancer. We would talk about it, laugh about it, but there wasn't that awkward am-I-allowed-to-laugh-about-this-moment pause. No looks of pity or cliche sayings. (To be fair though, we talked about so much more than cancer, it was a small piece of the puzzle). It was an uplifting week. And we danced. There was a lot of dancing, even if it was just our arms moving to the beat as the van drove us to the drop-off point that day. Last week had such an ease to it, at least for me and I hope for the others who were there as well.

I wouldn't call last week a rebirth so to say, but maybe a bit of a cleansing, a cleansing of some of the crap the last two years have brought. It felt so good. And I needed it more than I realized.

I'm pretty sure the water wasn't necessary to get to this point, but I do like the symbolism that is there. It seems a perfect match to how I am feeling. I loved my week with the water and hope I can do it again someday!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

To lighten the mood ...

So, today I'm going to share this story that has made me giggle so much.

After the wedding on Saturday, we came home and pretty much went straight to bed. Husband, in typical fashion, was asleep in about 1.6 seconds. I, per my usual, tossed and turned. My husband starting snoring. Loudly and annoying.

So I tossed and turned. I tried to lightly shake him. I tried to move his head. Sometimes, if he just moves, the snoring stops. But, nope. The snoring continued.

So I pulled out the iPad and played a game for a bit. Hoping that I'd get so tired I'd jut fall asleep. But he kept snoring. And so I tried to shake him a bit. And it wouldn't stop.

So in a huff, I rolled over (admittedly loudly) and kind of growled a little bit. I was SO freaking annoyed.

At this point, my husband stirs and says to me "Can you keep it down? I'm trying to sleep here."

You do not know how much I wanted to punch him in that moment. I mean, I thought I was going to die. Oh really, are you trying to sleep my precious? Gee, can't imagine what that's like. Instead I just said, "Eric. You are snoring"

No, I'm not.

Um, yes, yes, you are. I can't sleep.

Oh, okay, I'll try to stop.

Naturally, he remembers NONE of it. But I told him Sunday, the fact that he's still alive is proof that I really, really love him!

A silly story for sure, but hey, a little silly is good once in a while, right?

Have a good Tuesday!

Monday, August 05, 2013

The Wedding

This weekend the family and I went to a wedding. It was such a beautiful wedding! We had a great time and were able to see so many awesome people. This was no surprise though - I've been looking forward to this wedding since I heard about it.

However, what did surprise me is how emotional it was. At one point I thought I was going to just start bawling. I usually tear up at weddings. I love them. They are so beautiful. Everyone looks gorgeous. The bride and the groom usually look so happy they could explode. They are simply glowing. I love every second of it, just love it.

This weekend's wedding is the first we have been to in 3 years. Which means it was the first wedding we've been to since my diagnosis. I've been to one reception locally for a wedding that originally took place far away. We've had to decline going to some other weddings because I was too sick to go, to close to post-surgery to travel, in the midst of chemo, etc, etc. Missing these weddings stunk, but it was what it was and I've mostly accepted that.

But this weekend, we were sitting at the church. The bride came down the aisle. I teared up, as usual. She was gorgeous. She was beaming. I was so happy for her, for her groom, for her family. So I teared up - happy tears, joyful tears. The service went on and it was time for the vows - I think most people know them: good times, bad times, in sickness and health, for richer, for poorer. And my heart just beat a little bit faster. I squeezed my husband's hand a little harder. And I thought in my head God, please don't let them know bad times. Please don't let them know sickness. Please keep them bathed in good times and health. Because I'm going to tell you - I have no doubt they could get through bad times, sickness, heart break, etc, but it sucks. It completely sucks.

Then I thought back to when I got married. We said the same vows. But we had no clue what they really meant at that time. We thought we did, but we really didn't. {Some couples really do know what it means, some have been through some pretty tough times together already. We were not one of them}. I wonder, only momentarily though, would we have done it differently had we known? But really, there is no way to answer that question. And frankly, I don't think I would have wanted to do it differently. I love my husband and I love my family. Some moments in our life have been awful. Some things we've been through have been hard. But they would have been 100 times more so had I not had my family with me.

And still, sitting in that church, hearing them say their vows, just stirred up so much emotion for me. So I told myself to stop it, to reign it in. I mean, I put mascara on and I didn't want it to run (I almost never wear make-up, so having it on is a big deal LOL). We made it through the ceremony and headed to the reception.

Fast forward through dinner to dancing. The first dance of the night, a slow song, husband and I were dancing and the tears came. That's when it dawned on me we hadn't danced in 3 years, that we hadn't been to a wedding in 3 years. All of that was before cancer. I feel like a dork saying it "that was before cancer" but it is a major point in our lives. I tell time by it - that happened after Mister Man was born but before cancer, that happened after cancer. Anyway, we're dancing and I'm crying and I'm feeling like an over-emotional dork who needs to get over it.

My husband though, this man who rocks, leans over and tells me that he's there for me - even in the hard times, in sickness, health, he's going to be by my side. No matter where the road may take us, and he wouldn't change anything that's happened so far. He doesn't just say it though, he's so sweet about it. He tenderly kissed my forehead, looked right into my eyes, and suddenly, right then, it's all okay. We've been though good and bad, health and sickness, rich and poor, and we're still together. We can still look into each other eyes, arms wrapped around each other, swaying to the music, and be so in love. 

I know, I know. It sounds so cheesy. But it's not. There's so much there in those moments. And I'm crying and smiling all at once. The rush of emotions tapers down and we danced for most of the rest of the night.

I loved it. I loved being a part of the wedding. I loved that my husband was there when the emotions surge. I love love! It's really an amazing thing.

And now, I know, to not let three years pass before I get to dance with my husband ;-)