Friday, August 5, 2011

There are these days that are the days.

First the health update:  Chemo #3 went rather well for the most part. We switched up the Neulasta situation and moved to the 10-day shot sequence of Neupagin, which lessened the horrible heaviness in my chest. I had a couple of rough days in there, but deal-able. Shooting up Neupagin the parking lot of David's baseball game is something I won't forget too soon. That and the insert says "do not shoot into scar tissue or stretch marks." Um, on this belly? That gives us a lot less real estate, people. I'm just sayin'.

Today is the last AC and then on to the extremity-numbing Taxol (which scares the bejeezus out of me) for four more and then I am DONE. Want to know what I am going to do after? I am going to have a big, fabulous glass of good wine. I am going to eat an amazing meal. I am going to work out. I am going to go somewhere wonderful with my husband. I know I am only half way there, but I can see the light. I can. I just need to remember that it's there.

Now a story:

"No, No, I can do it myself" she says as she pushes off with one foot, wobbles a bit and then clicks into the rhythm of movement. I stand back and watch my sturdy, spirited 5 year old girl grasp and master the balance and physics of the bike. At my elbow, David says "Just one more run, Mom, how about it?" and we move his bike onto the grass and I run beside him, lightly grasping onto his shirt, as he slowly and methodically pedals in a wide circle. Ava likes the flatness of the pavement and working without a net between she and the skin-skinning bitumen. David's skill improved 1,000 fold when we moved onto the field. "It would be like falling during soccer", he says, "or not even that bad." No sooner he says that and he's sailing along, free of the fear that had brought tears to his eyes just an hour before.

I woke up yesterday morning with a head full of steam about teaching the kids to ride their bikes. Tomorrow was a chemo day, I was going to feel crappy next week, time was running out on our second goal (first goal = learning to swim, second goal = learning to ride a bike), SuperNanny Steph was there to help, it was only going to be 80 degrees... so I closed my computer at 5, rounded up the kidlins and Stephanie and off we went.

It must have been a pretty funny sight, me in my baldiness/do-rag, skirt and mary jane shoes running up and down the parking lot grasping onto the bike and shouting instructions. Sweating buckets and realizing about 30 minutes in that I hadn't taken off the horrible, weighty foobs which were adding to the slog. In fact, one guy stopped for quite a bit to watch. He had a huge smile on his face so I suspect he was going to offer a compliment, but who had the time to chat when there were kids to push.

Our dear friends, the Leos came over to find us too. Miriam and Andrew riding circles around David and Ava, luring them into their mini biker gang and shouting words of encouragement: "Think of something yummy like chocolate cake! Think of your friends! Think of good things! You can DO it!"  We ran and rode, sweated, screamed our excitement, gave big hugs, did happy dances, encouraged each other. If it weren't such a trip and hysterical to hear and see, I would have been a pool of tears for the gentle sweetness of it all. Delicious.

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Standing there with my friend Anne and our kids, I realized it was the first day in so long that I just felt like a regular mom to my kids. Not a sick mom, not a mom who is too tired or busy or down to do something, not a mom with cancer. Just a mom, and a mom who loves being there for these milestones in life, who loves hugging her sweaty, wonderful chickens after they accomplish something they are so proud of.

And then it hit me that by the grace of the universe, an early diagnosis and mostly just plain luck,  I will be standing there for many more.

What luck, and luck it was that I caught this disease when I did.

And that nearly blew my mind.

You never know what will be handed to you. You never, never know.

So today, I am thankful for that little bit of time. The old normal in this temporary "new" normal. And I hope they will remember it too.

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